Humans are creatures of habit. And one of the most common habits is procrastination.
Why do we do it?
There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Some truly don’t want to do the task at hand; others are afraid of failure; and some simply don’t know how to get started.
But there’s also a science behind why we procrastinate.
Humans are hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. And when it comes to decision making, we’re constantly trying to balance these two competing desires.
On the one hand, we want to avoid the pain of doing something difficult or unpleasant. On the other hand, we want to seek the pleasure of completing a task or reaching a goal.
This balancing act is known as “approach-avoidance conflict.” And it’s at the heart of why we procrastinate.
When we’re facing an approach-avoidance conflict, our brain is trying to weigh the costs and benefits of taking action. And more often than not, the pain of taking action wins out.
So, we procrastinate. We put off doing the things we know we should do because the pain of taking action is just too great.
Of course, this often backfires on us. The longer we procrastinate, the more anxious we become about the task at hand. And that only makes the problem worse.
The good news is, there are ways to overcome procrastination. And it starts with understanding the science behind why we do it.
Once we understand the approach-avoidance conflict and how it affects our decision making, we can start to make better choices. We can learn to take action even when the pain of doing so is great.
And that’s the first step to conquering procrastination.