Why do people postpone? A new study suggests that it has a lot to do with your brain

Have you ever despairing about your endless ability to procrastinate? Do you find yourself completing the smallest task at the last minute? Now imagine this by reading this article? Time to stop swallowing up: according to a new study, as the BBC reports, your procrastination can be the result of the structure of your brain. A study published in Psychological Science observed two parts of the brain that control our tendency to postpone things. So let us go deeper into science: why do people turn out?

The study, produced by researchers from the Ruhr University Bochum, picks up the probability of procrastination on two parts of the brain: the amygdala – "an almond-shaped structure in the temporal (side) lobe that processes our emotions and controls our motivation" – and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (or DACC), which uses "information from the amygdala and decides what action the body will undertake." The DACC is responsible for "blocking competing emotions and distractions" – in other words, it is the part of the procrastination of the brain.

After scanning the brains of 264 people, as well as using a survey to measure their proactivity, researchers found that disturbers usually had a larger amygdala, as well as a weaker connection between the amygdala and the DACC. Study author Erhan Genç explained: "People with a larger amygdala may be more anxious about the negative consequences of an action – they tend to hesitate and postpone things." And a poorer connection between the amygdala and the DACC means that people can "filter out less disturbing emotions and distractions". See? You really can not be blamed for looking at eleven consecutive make-up guides if you have a deadline within 45 minutes. It all comes down to that damn amygdala!


So procrastination is linked to your brain structure – does that mean you can not escape it? Not according to the authors of the study: while procrastination may have physical roots in the brain, that does not mean that you are doomed by your biology. Lead author Dr. Caroline Schlüter said: "The brain is very responsive and can change throughout its life." And Dr. Tim Pychyl, a dropout expert at Carleton University, Ottawa, told the BBC: "Research has already shown that mindfulness meditation is related to amygdala contraction, expansion of the pre-frontal cortex and a weakening of the connection between these two areas." In brief? Your brain can change, just like your awkward habits.

The authors of the research are not the only ones who suggest that procrastination is not just a failure of self-control or time management. The Atlantic Ocean noted that the habit "may have less to do with time than with emotion". The fundamental emotional process behind procrastination? "We slow down the action because we feel we are in the wrong mood to complete a task," the Atlantic Ocean noted; plus, "we assume that our mood will change in the near future."

What can you do to change your way of working? Productivity expert Moyra Scott has shared some tips with the BBC and recommended that chronic offenders split tasks into smaller, more manageable actions, use a timer to schedule short periods of focus and minimize external interruptions such as your phone's notifications.


What is more, according to the Washington Post, an important step is to stop self-flagellating. Dr. Tim Pychyl co-authored a study that concluded that "students who reported that they had forgiven themselves because of postponing their studies for a first exam ultimately less delayed a second exam." Be kind to yourself, adorsers!

Plus, Pychyl told the newspaper that we just have to get used to working if we do not feel like it. "Most of us seem to tacitly believe that our emotional state must have the job at hand," said Pychyl, adding, "I have to admit that I will rarely feel it and it does not matter if I have no fancy. "

The important things to take with you from this article? Firstly, procrastination is not the result of personal failure – and by punishing yourself, you could make the problem worse. And secondly, turning things off is a habit that you can absolutely overcome. If you want to excuse me now, I have a make-up guide or eleven to view.

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