PROCRASTINATION & THE BRAIN

Why does procrastination exist, and why is it so difficult to stop?

Thinking is not a natural function of the brain 

The brain is designed primarily to support the survival functions seeing, hearing, moving, etc.).  Thinking takes energy and focus away from survival to build new thought patterns which might be helpful later on.  Humans are cognitive misers meaning we think and solve problems in simpler ways to limit effort, regardless of intelligence.

Motivation 

Motivation is not as accessible as we may think. It naturally comes in waves and is therefore often fleeting.  It is tied to our biology and thus is influenced by many factors, diet, environment, physiology etc.

The problem lies in the fact we plan as if we’ll always be motivated.  Mentally we can put pressure on ourselves to succeed in a certain way and more importantly to consistently succeed.  We develop a fixed mindset and any evidence which is contrary to us not succeeding (i.e. any mistakes or lack of development) is fixated on and becomes a catalyst for a downward de-motivational spiral.

Solvable or Unsolvable 

It is not only how our brains function but how we see problems, does the work feel solvable or unsolvable, or one might say does the work feel manageable or unmanageable?  “Our brains are more than happy to spend energy on solvable problems, releasing dopamine every time we make some visible progress.”  Breaking down the work or problem into smaller chunks can allow the unsolvable to become solvable.

For more help in forming good habits and breaking bad ones, read about the neurology of habit formation

 

HOW TO TACKLE PROCRASTINATION 

1.Whenever a wave of motivation strikes, use it for planning, not working.

Motivation is not continuous, they come in short bursts throughout the day.  Use these moments to to break down your big monstrous task into smaller, manageable chunks. These smaller tasks can then be reasonably tackled during the periods when you feel less motivated.

2. Don’t only focus on your goal, create a plan to get there.

Setting the goal frames the activity that you’ll then need to do. The next task is planning the steps which will get you from A to B.

3. Sleep

Sleep consolidates learning. Sleep releases growth hormone and repairs your body. Sleep builds up your mental capacity

 

Need help in tackling your procrastination?  Find out more about Life Studio’s Coaching programmes or get in touch for your free 15 minute consultation, sophie@lifestudiobysb.com

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