by Adam Dreyfuss
Finals week. One of the most dreaded times of the year is finals week. Recently, I experienced the pain of finals week, and the personal struggle with procrastination. Why study now when I can watch a YouTube video, stream a TV show on Netflix, or play video games?
“The action of delaying or postponing something.”
My personal definition of procrastination is: “What everyone does, despite absolutely hating it.”
Now, why do people procrastinate? Personally, I hate procrastinating, but yet I do it all the time. I had an English paper due on June 3 at 11:59 p.m., but I still didn’t bother to start.
I knew about this essay for around three weeks, and I knew that this paper would be an absolute pain to write, but I still haven’t started. Naturally, instead of writing this paper, I decided to look up why people procrastinate. I stumbled upon a few links, which all said around the same thing.
1. “I don’t want to do it!”
2. “What if I can’t do it?”
3. “This is too boring!”
4. “This is too overwhelming!”
5. “Why am I doing this?”
So, this research really did nothing for me. This was all stuff that I knew and think myself. So instead of clicking on what many would call “clickbait” I decided to google scholarly articles on procrastination, and try to find articles from psychologists.
I found what looked like a great article that would provide actual insight into procrastination. However, with me being me, I thought “Wow, this looks longs, and kinda boring. I’m not going to read this.”
Wait! Wait, just wait! I did read the article, and what I found was actually interesting. The writer says, “The frontal systems of the brain are known to be involved in a number of processes that overlap with self-regulation. These behaviors — problem-solving, planning, self-control, and the like — fall under the domain of executive functioning.”
What this means is that the frontal lobes of the brain could be the reason that you and I procrastinate. Here are the actual findings that they had based on one of their studies:
“To address this gap in the literature, Rabin and colleagues gathered a sample of 212 students and assessed them first for procrastination, then on the nine clinical subscales of executive functioning: impulsivity, self-monitoring, planning and organization, activity shifting, task initiation, task monitoring, emotional control, working memory, and general orderliness. The researchers expected to find a link between procrastination and a few of the subscales (namely, the first four in the list above). As it happened, procrastinators showed significant associations with all nine, Rabin’s team reported in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.”
Basically, the reason why basically everyone procrastinates are that the brain likely struggles with these functions during procrastination: impulsivity, self-monitoring, planning and organization, activity shifting, task initiation, task monitoring, emotional control, working memory, and general orderliness.
All in all, despite learning the basis as to why people procrastinate, I have learned something that I didn’t really set out to learn. I learned that all of the “clickbait” articles that are called Six tips to stop procrastinating are absolute non-sense. There are no tips that can tell you how to make sure that the frontal lobe of the brain is functioning at max capacity.