Psychology Explains How to Rewire Your Brain to Stop Procrastination

The human brain has been designed to have an insatiable appetite for stimulus. Yet, it has also been wired to avoid routines and constantly seek something new. These innate behaviors of the brain can easily make us procrastinators.

According to James Clear:

“Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia. Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment.

It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control.

Here’s a modern definition:

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, whether you refer to it as procrastination or akrasia or something else, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.”

Procrastination can lead to unnecessary stress and various health risks.

Psychology Today explains:

“Approximately 20 percent of people are chronic procrastinators; for them the behavior cuts across all domains of life. There’s more than one flavor of procrastination.

Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, wait until the last minute in order to reap a euphoric rush. A second type, avoiders, put off tasks because of fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case, are very concerned with what others think of them.

Then there are decisional procrastinators, who are unable to make a decision; not making a decision absolves them of responsibility for the outcome of events.

There are big costs to procrastination: It is internally troubling, leading to such problems as insomnia, immune system, and gastrointestinal disturbances, and it erodes personal relationships and teamwork in the workplace.”

However, this article will teach you to become more productive and rewire your brain.

Almost all of us procrastinate at some point or to some extent on a daily basis, and experts claim that two out of every ten people (20%) are chronic procrastinators.

Procrastination is actually deeply rooted in our psychology, and it correlates with disorders like ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, passive-aggressiveness, and anxiety.

The universal catalyst of procrastination is probably stress, and high-stress levels lead to a point where it becomes highly distracting, known as the procrastination accumulation effect, which in turn has a cyclical effect.

Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D. claims:

“We don’t view procrastination as a serious problem but as a common tendency to be lazy or dawdling. But we have shown in our research that it is much, much more. For those chronic procrastinators, it is not a time management issue – it is a maladaptive lifestyle.”

Damon Zahariades adds:

 “The price you pay for procrastination is not always immediate. The true cost becomes apparent via a ripple effect that expands the more you put things off. This ripple effect eventually impacts both your personal and professional lives.”

Fortunately, there are ways to rewire the brain and oppose to procrastination:

-- You need to accept reality and admit you have a problem to solve. You need to learn to pay attention to the task that should be completed, and if you fail, promise to be better next time, and move on.

-- Even if you feel the urge to delay it, the discomfort will vanish as soon as you start doing the task. Therefore, get started, and things will become much easier than you thought!

-- Pay attention to one thing at a time, to save brain energy and focus on completing it, before you move on to the next one. In this way, you will prevent the fear that arises when you think of all the accumulated tasks you haven’t done yet.

-- You need to celebrate your accomplishments in life, and not only in the moment of completing. This will boost your self-esteem, and remind you of your skills and abilities.

-- We are fallible creatures so you cannot expect to be perfect in anything you do since the need for perfectionism is a severe hindrance to proactivity.

-- The brain is an organ hungry for energy, so it is important to eat a healthy and nutritious diet that will supply all the needed vitamins and minerals for it to function properly.

Make sure you increase the intake of the following:

  1. Omega 3 fatty acids, as they boost the structure and communication of neurons, by providing the raw ingredients for the myelin sheath, which is a protective covering around the fibers called axons;
  2. Monounsaturated fats, for they lower blood pressure and prevent cognitive impairment and decline;
  3. Cacao (cocoa), as it is high in flavonoids that prevent stress damage of the brain, and improves blood vessel and neuron growth, which are vital for learning and memory;
  4. Caffeine, since it is a good, but short-term energy source.



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