4 causes of procrastination (text)

    After this post from the video “Everything you need to know about procrastination,” many wrote that they needed text.

    He is below.

    Everything you need to know about procrastination

    Procrastination is considered such a big problem that they don’t believe me when I say that it is simple.

    There are two groups of reasons: simple and complex.

    Let's start with the simple ones.

    1. Competing Challenges

    When there are two or more equally important things, tasks, concerns, we do not know which one to take. Several foci of excitation in the cerebral cortex compete with each other for attention, for activity, for the implementation of actions to extinguish arousal.

    For example, at the same time three tasks: call back to the client, make a section on the site, and choose where to go on vacation. They compete for attention, and man can not tolerate this state. As a result, it switches to “junk” activity in order to simply not be in a state of conflict.

    How to get rid?

    Form a to-do list and follow it. Methods mass. I wrote about this and my book, “Antitime Management” (available on filibuste or on Liters, in some places you can find it in stores). There is a plan, a reliable carrier, a method of work, and the brain understands that things will be done. He calms down, and the conflict no longer exists.

    2. Reinforcement of "junk" behavior

    The second reason is more complicated - the pattern “there is no urgent need to prokrastirovat!”. Formed by regular reinforcement.

    Reinforcement - the consequences of behavior. Good ones have pleasant emotions, bad ones are unpleasant.

    If you want to know more, read “Don't growl at the dog,” Karen Pryor. She is a student of Skinner, the founder of behaviorism. The book describes well the phenomenon of positive and negative reinforcement, and how it affects behavior.

    How does this apply to us? Any behavior has consequences. They determine whether the behavior will be developed or depressed.

    For example, games or TV. It's nice. Nice - reinforcements. So - repeat more often.

    Job. This is unpleasant (if not associated with pleasant emotions, joy, completion). The body does not like to spend power. Any costs are always backed up negatively. So we are arranged.

    As a result, everything that is unpleasant is put off until the consequences are overpowered. As a result, we do a term paper when it is no longer possible to postpone, we study in a session, and in the semester we do what is pleasant.

    For difficult places in the project we take, when deadline is coming soon. While he is far away, we are doing what we like best. Or, in general, what is not connected with work: youtube, series, games, walking.

    You can remember a lot of things that we postpone. If you look at the Eisenhower matrix, this is the same square B - “not urgent, but important.”


    Their execution is not related to the fact that there will be unpleasant consequences. Then we all do it, because the possible negative consequences outweigh the negative emotions that we experience during the execution of the task.

    The only way to get started is to stimulate. That is, circumstances that guarantee more unpleasant than the cost of effort to work.

    In the end, two bundles:

    1) Work is useful - unpleasant emotions

    2) “Garbage activity” - pleasant emotions.

    This is the very positive and negative reinforcement. At the same time, the evaluation of emotions is not linear, it passes in the moment.

    For example, a commercial customer or tea with a colleague. The assessment of the “trouble” of the first is made from the “pleasantness” of the second. Therefore, we go to drink tea, and commercial writing in the evening, lingering at work. But that is not the reason.

    When there is no incentive for a job to do work, which is connected, even if only in small negative emotions, we find ourselves in a situation where the program is working.

    Our behavior is largely unconscious. Automated. Recognized conditions - there is a response. If there is no incentive that binds you to work, automatically matters what is rewarded by positive emotions. At the same time, the behavior is not targeted. We do not choose what we want. We simply choose from a set of positively supported cases.

    This is repeated and fixed.

    And this does not mean that we really want to do it. Remember the situations when you watch a TV series, simultaneously sticking on the phone. This means that watching the show is not so interesting. There is no positive aspiration when we really want to do something (for example, we read a very interesting book or run on a date).

    There is no such desire here. There is a program like Pavlov's dog - there is no incentive, there is no danger, and the program that is memorized by repeated repetitions is turned on.

    How to get rid?

    Accompany the “trash behavior” with negative emotions. Hang stationery gum on your wrist. As soon as you realize that you are engaged in nonsense, click on the wrist. So form a reflex arc: garbage activity = painful.

    Another option, the relationship with the consequences. Write what life will look like in 5-10-15-20 years, if you continue to procrastinate. Pictures that show the brain will have enough negative charge to make trash behavior a little less pleasant.

    If you do it now, you feel you need to work. Tomorrow this feeling will weaken, and the day after tomorrow will disappear. Therefore, I recommend to combine with a rubber band - click on the hand after you have clarified the consequences.

    3. Conflicts

    The third reason is difficult. It is associated with intrapersonal conflicts. They are also called neurotic, because in critical cases they can lead to neurosis.

    There are three types of neurotic conflicts:

    1) I want to - do not give; (I want to sell expensive - they don’t take it)

    2) I want - I can’t (I want to do a lot of work, but I don’t have the strength);

    3) I want - it is necessary (I want to walk, but I must work).

    The latter is the third reason for procrastination.

    I attribute it to complex ones, because the questions that concern “must” relate to the cognitive structures of a person. This is a complex multi-level model, a picture of the world that a person uses during decision-making, and receives, for example, “I have to work”.

    How to get rid?

    Make the final choice between "I want" and "necessary." Choose one side - do what you have to, or what you want, knowing the consequences.

    If you are sitting at work and doing nonsense, look for what you really want to do and what to do. Realize and select one of the parties. The choice may look like this: 3 hours doing what I want and do not feel guilty and completely immersed in it. And then - I will finish, that is necessary.

    From the first time it may not be possible, but training will determine the motives and make the final choice will allow you not to do nonsense, and finally do either what you want or what you need.

    Also, you will feel better, because the tension will go away due to the conflict.

    4. Emotionally charged zones

    Man prokrasiniruet, because for him the image of work has a negative emotional charge. The reason is conceptually the same, but the manifestations of each individual person are different.

    Each specific action has a personal meaning for us. This means that the events in the present are connected with our past experience. Positive or negative.

    Imagine that you unreasonably rude to a random person. What will you feel? Most likely, it will be unpleasant.

    Now imagine that you are doing something good, for example, transfer your grandmother across the road. The feelings associated with this image are most likely positive.

    These sensations do not arise from scratch. They are initiated by our personal meaning, which is associated with each of the images. Our behavior depends on experience, on what we knew before.

    A person prokrasiniruet, because his way of working has a negative emotional charge. We can look for other reasons: a few things to do; internal conflicts. But with all this, the personal meaning of the work, which is not to be addressed, is most likely negative.

    For example, we postpone the preparation for the presentation of the product, which is not sure. For each individual person this will have its own meaning. For someone to sell something that is not sure - to lie. If you do, you are a liar. This is a negative personal meaning, because it is associated with negative emotions. As a result, we avoid presentation.

    It is important that each individual person will have different things, only the principle is the same.

    Why one can happily talk about a product in which he is not sure, and the other in every possible way avoids it? Because the experience is different.

    In the experience of the person from the example above, there were situations when he was not sure of what he was saying, and someone important to him (teacher, father, trainer) pointed out to him: “you don’t know — don’t say”, “not sure - keep quiet ", or somehow differently connected his behavior with what is not accepted, not good. And for him now to talk about what he is not sure about is a lie.

    Sales themselves are often associated with “pairing,” that is, they have a negative personal meaning.

    Another example: a person sells outboard motors. It is unlikely that he can independently assess their quality, but he concludes that since the company has sold these engines all over the world for many years, they are probably good. He calmly and enthusiastically speaks about them to customers. He does not feel associated with the sale of negative personal meaning. For him, talking about what is not personally verified is absolutely normal. He does not have in experience what the first man has.

    If we go back to procrastination, then we can say that almost always, everything that we postpone corresponds to one degree or another to all four reasons that we have analyzed. There are different effects of these reasons. But if you are faced with the fact that you do not have equally important tasks, if you have not memorized the hanging pattern in “junk” activity, there is no strongly pronounced conflict between “I want” and “I need to”, look for what is the personal meaning of what you postponing.

    How to get rid of it?

    Use freeriting. Set the timer on the phone for 10-15 minutes, and start writing (on paper or on a computer) on the topic "What this task means to me." Write, without thinking and not correcting errors. Just pour all that is in your head. This way you can find the associations you have associated with it. Then they need to analyze and revise. You can revise associations for compliance with their real life.


    The first reason for procrastination is equal tasks that conflict for attention. To cope with this will help planning and to-do lists.

    The second reason is a learned pattern of behavior. When we find ourselves in a situation where there is no incentive to do an important task, “garbage activity” is automatically included. From this you can unlearn, for example, by clicking yourself with an office gum on your wrist, as soon as you realize that you are doing nonsense, and having worked the consequences - what will happen to you in 5-10 years if you continue in the same spirit. You may have noticed that this is how we use negative personal meaning, but for good.

    The third reason is the conflict between “want” and “need”. If we procrastinate, we ask - what do we really want instead of being engaged in this task? Because procrastination is not a choice of really desired things. This throwing between want and need. Make the final choice.

    The fourth reason is the clarification of personal meaning, which lies behind the task that we postpone. We solve the problem with the help of freeriting - a free description “What does this mean for me”. Time needs to be noticed in order to write for speed, without thinking. Then analyze the written - how it really corresponds to reality.

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