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The Kid Should See This

Why do we procrastinate and how can we stop?

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“The report you’ve been putting off is due tomorrow. It’s time to buckle down, open your computer … and check your phone. Maybe watch your favorite YouTube channel? Or maybe you should just start in the morning? This is the cycle of procrastination. So, why do we procrastinate when we know it’s bad for us?”

What is procrastination? What’s going on inside our brains and bodies when, for no good reason, we put off things we said we were going to do? It’s stressful! And the feelings of failure, shame, guilt, insecurity, and dread that come with procrastinating can make the situation worse. How do we stop putting things off?

The first step in fixing the problem is to understand what’s happening: This TED-Ed video begins to demystify dilly-dallying by explaining our biological responses, then shares a few strategies for short-circuiting our stress responses, including cultivating an attitude of self-compassion:

“Procrastination can look like a symptom of laziness, but chronic procrastinators are actually often perfectionists with a high fear of failure.”

fight flight freeze

Procrastination is the neurological response to stress — the same “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction all mammals have in any life-threatening situation…

“If we view procrastination as not a time-management problem, but an emotional regulation problem, perhaps we can more successfully combat its negative effects.”

bear vs deadline
Professor Fuschia Sirois is the educator for this TED-Ed, with animation directed by and action agency co-founder Vitalii Nebelskyi.

Related reading: Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control).

Related videos about emotions include:
How to transform nervous feelings into positive energy
What can we learn about stress from birds?
• Telegraph Line (Nervous System), a 1979 Schoolhouse Rock animation
• Mindfulness animations on change, calm, and connection
• How to deal with anxiety from change and how to be at peace with the unknown

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