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Why You Delay Things – The Science Behind Procrastination

Are you in a habit of constantly delaying your task and end up having immense pressure on the final day so that you hardly have time even to sleep properly? If yes, then you are a victim of Procrastination.

Different people give diverse excuses to defend their habit to procrastinate.  So elucidate that they are more productive under pressure while some are so afraid to fail in the task that they delay it. Whatever the reason, the consequences are devastating in terms of your mental peace, profession, and your personal life. People refer to procrastination as an art of delaying. Procrastinators may find solace in the beginning but believe me; it brings in a lot of stress, hassle, and long-term sufferings. Procrastination is not a foolish or silly act. It’s an indication that you have poor self-control. Missing deadlines is not a good thing. Rather, it is a serious problem that affects your productivity and may land you in critical situations where you may even lose your job.

But why do we procrastinate? Well, there is science behind that. So, let’s explore

Factors that lead to Procrastination

First, let us have a look at some factors that compel us to procrastinate

  1. Impulsiveness: We humans are impulsive and we even get swayed by temptations. You might take up the project with all your heart and start working on it diligently but as soon as you’ll find something more enthralling, you’ll get distracted and divert all your attention in doing that task.
  2. Fear of failure: Sometimes we worry about the outcome of a task so we tend to delay working on it
  3. Rebelliousness: If you do not like working on a particular project you’d think that you’re being forced to work on it. So, your brain will tell you to delay it.

 Science behind Procrastination

Science explains that procrastination is the resultant of a battle between our limbic system and prefrontal cortex. The limbic system, also known as the unconscious zone of the brain, is a dominant portion of the brain that accounts for all the involuntary actions. It is the part that directs you to immediately take your hand away when it comes in contact with fire. In a nutshell, limbic system controls us by the stimulus. It is also the portion that tells you to avoid or delay the tasks that you find unpleasant.

The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, is a feeble part of the brain. It serves as the internal planner and aids in making decisions and integrating information.  Generally, we use prefrontal cortex but the moment we find any activity better than the ongoing task, we procrastinate as the limbic system wins over the prefrontal cortex.

So, this was the science behind procrastination. Hopefully, from next time you won’t blame your parents, your zodiac sign, weather or anything else for procrastination.

Psychologically, procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.  Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. “I don’t feel like it” takes precedence over goals; however, it then begets a downward spiral of negative emotions that deter future effort. Procrastinators may say they perform better under pressure, but more often than not that’s their way of justifying putting things off. The brighter side is that, it’s possible to overcome procrastination—with effort. Perfectionists are often procrastinators; it is psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a task than to face the possibility of falling short on performance.


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