Chris Liu, Feb 9

What is Procrastination? ⏳

You must be familiar with the word procrastination. Without explaining it professionally, procrastination means merely waiting until the “last minute” to do the task. Is it bad? Uhmmm, for me, at least, it is terrible.

My Experience 👍

Before university, I procrastinated a lot. My mom always argued with me with this when I was in middle school. After that, I changed my habit only for not hearing these all day. I always waited until the last day to review for my exams and started my homework the night before the deadline. However, they did not matter anymore now.

Should I Overcome It? 🤔

Before answering this question, I want to claim that the definition of procrastination may differ among different people and different things. So by this, I am not asking you to not procrastinate on anything, since even now I delayed on some of my daily routines, but without any negative impact on my larger goal. Think about the consequence of a particular task first if you want to procrastinate, and then make your decision. For me, my answer is YES most of the time, and I wish it’s also yours.

How Should I Start? 🔑

Generally speaking, if we are talking about something related to the change of habit, you need to try to rebuild your habit first.

In the beginning, I tried to deliberately not procrastinate on something I consider small. Okay, this is simple, and I can do this now; oh, that one, maybe I can finish it before lunch. Stopping procrastinating suddenly is not ideal, so start with small. If you can do this without any problem, you made it, at least some of it.

You may ask now, “how am I supposed to deal with those difficult tasks? I don’t even want to start.” Yes, I complain about that, too. Do you really not want to start it? Maybe you are, but you can do it even though you don’t want. According to the chapter 3 in the book Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski, the insular cortex, which is the part of your brain “managing” pain, is activated when you start procrastinating. In other words, it reflects your feeling: I don’t want to do it now. However, the magic thing happens. After about twenty minutes, the pain goes away. See, you may not know it, but even your brain is telling you “I can do it.” What I am trying to say is that the pain is temporary, and once you started, you won.

Since the topic procrastination is so big, in the next post I will list specific techniques I did to overcome it. Hopefully, this gives you some insights. Thanks for reading.

Source: Oakley, Barbara A., et al. Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School without Spending All Your Time Studying. TarcherPerigee, 2018.