Monday, February 03, 2020

Procrastination is a profound failure of self regulation

Cameron, who spent the past forty years teaching artists around the world how to overcome their creative blocks, found the primary reason writers procrastinate is in order to build up a sense of deadline. 

Deadlines create a flow of adrenaline, and adrenaline medicates the censor. 

We all have worked with somebody like this. The crisis maker, drama queen or avoidance junkie. Somebody who knowingly puts things off to the last minute so that they can harness the motivation of panic; and then in their fear of not getting things done, trigger an adrenaline surge that floods their system with happy hormones and pushes them past the finish line in the eleventh hour. 

The danger with this cycle is, it works. Quite well, in fact. 

Researchers have identified the phenomenon of procrastination as clinically proven to offer significant benefits for many people. Throw a rock and you’ll find yet another article or speech or podcast about the billionaire entrepreneur who attributes his meteoric success to his ability to positively procrastinate. 

But perhaps it’s time to call this trend for what it really is. 

A profound failure of self regulation. 

If we are constantly intrigued by waiting until the last minute to start something so we can feel the adrenaline rush of working under pressure, then we have what addiction medicine specialists call a process addiction. A compulsion to repeatedly engage in an action despite negative consequences to our wellbeing. 

In this case, the cycle of procrastination, i.e., continuous delay, heroic effort, crash and recovery, stimulates the reward system in our brain, leading us to engage in activities that seem beyond our control. 

Sure, we get our work done, but only through our over reliance on adrenaline, urgency and pressure to do so. 

Take it from a recovering workaholic who spent fifteen years contracting one stress related illnesses after another, convincing himself he didn’t have a process addiction. 

This shit is real and it kills people. 

But maybe we should just put off this discussion until tomorrow. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Have you ever asked yourself why you procrastinate? 

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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