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Joseph Kaminski

History, Sociology, & More

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October 20, 2017

Why Do We Procrastinate?


With the introduction of technology, we’ve had procrastination lingering on our fingertips at all hours of the day. The internet offers funny cat videos on endless loop, an infinite rabbit hole of nonstop time wasters. We all procrastinate, in one form or another.

Many deem procrastination as a sense of personality – “I’m a procrastinator”, “I need to stop procrastinating” – instead of something that is pretty harmful for mental health and well-being. In several research settings, it has been noted that people who procrastinate more have higher levels of stress.

Look at it in a real life setting. People who spend more time procrastinating oftentimes save less for their retirement and miss important medical visits and checkups. Deadlines are made to be met, not missed. Yet so many people end up missing deadline after deadline just to put off undesired work that they “weren’t able” to get done.

If you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint, procrastination seems like a pretty terrible trait. Consider the nomadic tribes of primitive humans: Those early men and women who had to survive without WiFi and grocery stores. Imagine what would have happened to those early tribes if several well-endowed, good hunters decided “eh, we’ll chase the food down tomorrow morning.” They wouldn’t have survived. Humanity might have been delayed, even.

But that evolutionary standpoint doesn’t seem to exist anymore. We don’t need to get things done at a timely fashion anymore. Hunting is now treated as a sport, rather than a necessary staple of life, in first world countries. Let me put it like this: I don’t really need to write articles the same way those primitive humans needed to collect food to survive.

Procrastination is something that stems from psychological issues as well. Rather than given the option of “do it” and “you don’t really need to do it”, it seems as if the environment surrounding you may have a major impact on whether or not you procrastinate. Maybe you just don’t have an idea as to how to complete the task at hand. Maybe – like me – you have so much other work to do that your levels of procrastination just shove off the “least important” of them all.

Business Insider gave some “surprising reasons” as to why some people procrastinate. So, it’s really not just this aspect of “do or do not” that many time-wasters have.

We tend to procrastinate when we don’t want to complete the task at hand. We tend to procrastinate when we’ve grown up in an environment that either tries too hard to prevent it or doesn’t try enough to avoid it. We tend to procrastinate when we have easier options at hand.

I haven’t been posting recently, but not due to any form of stalling. I’ve been literally flooded with work. I’m hoping this changes, and I’m starting to make a backlog of posts again.

So, watch that next cat video. Or, better yet, check out some recommended articles below this one.

procrastination

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