Procrastination – is it your brain playing games

Energy, Fear, Human Brain, procrastination, Productivity

Your brain occupies about 2% of body mass but uses upto 25% of the energy. Nothing new here. These facts are more or less known for a very long time. What was new to me when I was reading Steven Kotler’s book The Art of Impossible was the fact that the brain tries to conserve energy, so it tries to do tasks which require less energy and creates a resistance to anything new, novel, unknown etc.

I have been a big procrastinator all my life. And till now I used to feel the biggest reason for me to be like this was that I was scared, I had a fear – of just about anything. I have tried a lot of things to get out of this habit of procrastination and over the years have improved tremendously. One of the best things that I learnt was identifying the task which can have the most impact on my day and then finishing that one task, before moving to anything else.

When you have a team and you also have to coordinate with peers, you may not be able to close all things that you plan in advance.However for that I use my electronic calendar and shift the dates to follow-up with my colleagues and they remain on my calendar till completely closed. So in that sense I have become more action oriented, but there are still a huge amount of areas where I can be many times better, except for my procrastination.

Dan Sullivan has different take on procrastination, and he and Dean Jackson have a podcast called the “joyofprocrastination”. where they talk extensively about how procrastination is actually your friend. I have used some of their concepts also in my journey to improve my productivity.

However after I read the above facts in Steven’s book, it kind of made an “aha” situation for me. My brain resists my doing something new or unknown because it will have to spend more energy. Since the new or novel thing could also hurt me, it will have to do even more work to protect me.The more work it has to do, the more energy it will need to spend. Since the brain is also a pattern recognition system, it tries to keep predicting how things could shape up and therefore predicts the amount of energy it may end up spending. So it suggests avoiding the task altogether as an easy way out to conserve energy.

So now I know, I won’t blame myself for my procrastination habit. I will blame it on my brain for playing games with me. You could also check out and see if this logic holds good for you as well.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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