This week I watched a TED Talk by Tim Urban called “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator.” At first, I didn’t think that I procrastinated as much as this guy did, but then, as I started to think about writing this blog, I noticed that I have had an entire week to do it, and I am just starting it three days before it is due… I think this is why I gravitated towards this video when I first saw the title!
Tim Urban discussed the differences between the brains of procrastinators and the brains of the non-procrastinators, and what he said related to me in many ways. He said that in a non-procrastinator’s brain, there is a rational decision maker, and in a procrastinator’s brain, there is a rational decision maker along with an instant gratification monkey. Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but when I applied it to my own life, it sounded like Urban hit the nail on the head. An instant gratification monkey is the little voice in my head that is telling me it is okay to live in the moment, forget about the past, and stay completely unbothered by the future. Well, let me tell you, that mentality does not work in college, and I learned that very quickly. I realized that the more time that I spent procrastinating, the less time that I put into the assignment, and I always ended up with a less-than-satisfactory grade.
(Photo cc by Fred Selbert)
There has never been a time that I have been proud of myself after procrastinating because I am always exhausted after completing the ridiculous amount of work that I save for myself to do with little to no time to do it. In trying to change this habit of mine, I have realized that the biggest reason that I put things off is because I do not understand what it is that I am supposed to be doing. I know, that makes no sense because if I don’t understand it, how will putting it off help me?! It won’t, so this semester I have made it my goal to read all of my assignments at the beginning of the week, no matter when they are due. When I come across an assignment that I do not fully understand, I am going to either ask a classmate or email my professor so that there is no confusion, no stress, and as Tim Urban would say, no “panic monster” making me crazy as the deadline approaches. Procrastination is something that every person has likely struggled with a time or two in their lifetime, but I am standing up to the gratification monkey and the panic monster in my head and saying no more, and I hope my readers will do the same!
Thanks for reading,