Procrastination, Impulsivity, TV and Thou

Yes, it’s true. All the problems we have not getting our work done – postponing, and postponing, and postponing again – would be solved if the TV and film writers who do indeed finish what they start would stop oversimplifying everything, dammit!

But don’t believe just us….

Now-Later-2532203You Don’t Have a Procrastination Problem, You Have an Impulsivity Problem
by Eric Ravenscraft

Procrastination is like bad signal or crappy Wi-Fi. Everyone deals with it, but most of us don’t understand how it works. Here’s the key: It’s not that you have a problem saying yes to the thing you’re supposed to be doing right now. The problem is you can’t say no to everything else.

Procrastination manifests itself in a variety of ways, but they all have one thing in common: they come from an impulsive tendency to do what feels easier, rather than the thing you know you should be doing. Some people get distracted by unimportant to-dos like cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes instead of focusing on the important thing you should be doing right now. Others spend hours reading pointless stuff on Facebook, rather than being productive. Some even procrastinate because they have perfectly reasonable fears about the thing they’re putting off!

Whether it’s focusing on the important work, closing the Facebook tab, or dealing with a big looming problem, the procrastinator avoids the thing they know is better for them in the long run. The reason this happens is found in how your brain handles impulsivity.

Thanks to TV and movies, you probably think of an impulsive person assomeone who’s dangerous or takes a lot of risks. While risky behavior can be a symptom of impulsivity, the truth is more subtle. In reality, impulsivity simply means that you act immediately on your impulses. When the mood strikes you to do something, you do it. Your actions are largely dictated by whatever your most immediate desire is, regardless of the long-term consequences of that action.

As behavioral researchers Martial Van der Linden and Mathieu d’Acremontdetailed in a 2005 study, published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, impulsivity is generally characterized by four broad characteristics:

Read it all at Lifehacker