Christopher Wayne Monison – Procrastination to Motivation
Salepage : Christopher Wayne Monison – Procrastination to Motivation
Procrastination is a skill, an art, a sleight of hand. You’d never guess I’m procrastinating right now. How many tabs are open in each of my browser windows? Choose a number, any number. How many chores did I postpone today? How many dreams have I put off? I’m not going to tell. Unskilled procrastinators stand out and are simple to recognize. They spend a lot of time talking about what they aren’t doing. They go about in circles, befuddled, like Dr. Seuss’s tormented hero in Hunches in Bunches. The skillful practitioner makes it appear simple.
But, if you spend all of your time on Facebook before lunch and still manage to ace those performance reports, you’re really only tricking yourself, am I right? You were eager to complete that novel/symphony/improv class/physics theory. But something held you back. Maybe it’s something in your head. This is where these things normally take place. When Stuart Langfield queried a neurologist about the neurology of procrastination, he got the following answer: “People assume that you can switch on an MRI and see where something’s occurring in the brain, but the fact is that’s not so. Because this is far more intricate, we have hypotheses.”
There are several ideas that tell us “what’s probably happening” in the brain, according to Langfield. Langfield’s theory is that the primitive, pleasure-seeking, pain-avoidance limbic system moves too rapidly for our more deliberative, logical prefrontal cortex to catch up, causing us stupefied by distractions. Piers Steel, Distinguished Research Chair and procrastination specialist at the University of Calgary, agrees. In the brief video below, you can watch him explain it. The evolutionary “design defect,” according to Langfield, would make the situation appear bleak if it weren’t for “neuroplasticity,” a fancy phrase that suggests humans can modify our brains.
The goal of Langfield’s brief movie is not just to understand the biology of procrastination, but also to conquer it. He approaches psychologist Tim Pychyl, whose responses we see and hear as a mess of thoughts. However, Pychyl simplifies the complex ideas to a simple answer. Mindfulness meditation, you guessed it, to “downregulate the limbic system.” Is that really it? Just sit and think? It has been shown to alleviate anxiety and increase attention.
However, based on experimental data acquired by Steel and others, Pychyl and his research team at Carleton University offer a couple more highly practical proposals. The Wall Street Journal provides the following tips:
Subdivide a long-term project into precise sub-goals. Give an actual start time and how long you want to work on the activity (not simply “tomorrow”).
Simply get started. It is not required to create a lengthy list of activities or to include each intermediary stage.
Remind yourself that doing the work now will benefit you in the future. Putting off the chore will not make it any easier.
Implement “microcosts,” or mini-delays, that force you to exert a minor effort to postpone, such as logging on to a different computer account for gaming.
Reward yourself not only for finishing the job but also for accomplishing the sub-goals.
A Stockholm University study put these tactics to the test, assigning numerous self-help instructions to a group of 150 self-described “high procrastinators” over a 10-week period, using a reward system and varied levels of coaching. “ “The results revealed that following intervention with both guided and unguided self-help, participants decreased their procrastination, while guided treatment appeared to show higher improvement,” the WSJ says.
Adding self-help chores to get us to the tasks we’ve been putting off doesn’t always work. Procrastination has a lengthy history, extending back to ancient Egypt, Rome, and 18th century England. “Even they who most consistently oppose it find it, if not the most violent, the most pertinacious of their passions, perpetually repeating its attacks, and, while frequently conquered, never extinguished,” Samuel Johnson observed.
There are folks that postpone because they are plagued by it, and then there are chronic procrastinators. “ If you procrastinate on occasion, Pychyl advises, “stop worrying about your sentiments and proceed to the next duty.” Suck it up and move away, maybe after a brief course of self-help. Despite contradictory neuroscientific theories, “there is a quiet science underlying procrastination,” claims Big Think, and “procrastination is a taught behavior,” according to recent studies. Most studies believe that we can unlearn it through meditation and/or diligent self-retraining.
“You might require treatment to better understand your feelings and how you’re coping with them via avoidance,” Pychyl says if you’re in the chronic group. DePaul University psychologist Joseph Ferrari concurs. He adds that “it is the individual who does it frequently, always with convincing ‘excuses,’ that has difficulties to confront,” citing a number of “20 percent of U.S. men and women” who “make procrastination their way of life.” Only you can tell if your problem is due to unhealthy habits or deeper psychological concerns.
Whatever the origins, the outcomes are what may encourage us to meditate or seek therapy. Chronic procrastination, according to Ferrari, is “not a time management issue; it is a maladaptive lifestyle.” According to the WSJ, habitual procrastinators “had greater rates of sadness and anxiety, as well as lower well-being.” We may see procrastination as “an harmless habit at worst, and maybe even a good one at best,” argues Eric Jaffe in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science, an approach advocated by Stanford philosophy professor John Perry in The Art of Procrastination. Instead, “procrastination is basically a self-inflicted lesion that progressively eats away at the most important resource in the world: time,” Jaffe writes in a grim summary of Pychyl’s studies.