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  • I would like to introduce our next speaker of the night:

  • Vik Nithy.

  • He is a young man who has already founded

  • three companies at the age of twenty.

  • Sorry, I was about to say twenty companies at the age of three.

  • And this is after being diagnosed

  • post-HAC with a number of conditions.

  • So he's a truly inspiring young enterpreneur

  • and he is going to tell you why we procrastinate.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • I finished high school about two years ago.

  • And although I did fairly well,

  • I didn't do nearly as well as I could have done

  • if I didn't suffer from a chronic

  • debilitating addiction to procrastination.

  • I would put off studying until the night before

  • every assignment and every exam wherever possible.

  • Is anyone else guilty of cramming?

  • Yeah. So you probably know how it feels

  • to maybe take a five-minute Facebook break

  • before you start working and then

  • realize that three hours have gone past,

  • or promise yourself that you'll start working tomorrow

  • every day for a week. Tomorrow, tomorrow.

  • It's not just studying that we procrastinate on,

  • we procrastinate on things like doing chores,

  • we procrastinate on thinking about our future,

  • and we procrastinate on saving money and getting fit.

  • I think procrastination is a really serious problem,

  • because it's about not being able to bring ourselves

  • to do the things that we know we want to do.

  • So tonight I'm going to talk to you about

  • the reasons why we procrastinate

  • and then hopefully give you some tips on how to overcome it

  • if you can get around to doing that.

  • (Laughter)

  • Okay.

  • So, procrastination is not a disease.

  • It's more about the decisions that you make,

  • the decision not to do what you need to do now

  • but to do it later instead.

  • It's really like you're having an argument in your head, isn't it?

  • One part of you wants to work

  • another part of your brain wants to play Angry Birds.

  • And for some reason you always manage to convince yourself,

  • "Oh it's okay, I can do whatever I need to do tomorrow,

  • I don't need to do it now."

  • So as a psychology student

  • I have the opportunity to find out what exactly is going on

  • inside our brains when we procrastinate.

  • And I found that there actually is an argument in our heads

  • between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.

  • So, this is the prefrontal cortex.

  • This is the part of our brain that tells us:

  • "You should be working Vik, you have a 40% assignment due tomorrow."

  • This is a higher level part of your brain;

  • the other part of your brain involved in procrastination

  • is the limbic system.

  • So this is a more primitive part of your brain

  • that wants to watch another episode of Gossip Girl

  • before you start studying.

  • So why is that the limbic system

  • always seems to win the argument?

  • The answer lies in this deceptively cute part of the brain

  • called the amygdala.

  • The amygdala is a part of your brain

  • that controls fear and anxiety

  • and the fight or flight response to threatening stimulus.

  • So for example, if you are in a jungle

  • and you see a wild lion in the distance,

  • what do you do?

  • I have no idea, I've never seen a wild lion

  • but I have seen a teacher approach me

  • when I haven't done my homework.

  • (Laughter)

  • And I think the response in the amygdala is quite similar:

  • The first thing you do is freeze;

  • your palms get sweaty, your heart starts beating fast

  • and your prefrontal cortex, the decision maker shuts down.

  • Because if you see a wild lion in the jungle,

  • you don't want a voice in your head to remind you

  • that you have an essay to write,

  • you have to focus on what's going on in the world around you

  • and responding to physiological needs.

  • So, when we procrastinate,

  • we experience a mild anxiety response

  • to a threatening stimulus which just happens to be

  • an assignment that you may have to complete.

  • So, what is it that we're afraid of?

  • What is it that we are afraid of? Well, meet your monkey mind!

  • This is the part of your brain,

  • the voice in your head that reacts to the threatening stimulus of an essay.

  • You may be afraid of an overwhelming --

  • You might find that the task is overwhelming

  • and you don't know where to start.

  • You might -- if it's an unpleasant task,

  • you might dread the displeasure of doing the task,

  • and if it's a more complex task with a --

  • when your performance is being measured

  • then you may have a fear of actual failure.

  • So perfectionists use procrastination

  • as a self-handicapping tool to avoid

  • personal failure.

  • So for example, if you have an assignment due on Friday,

  • and it's Monday today, you can finish the assignment tomorrow.

  • But if you don't do well,

  • then what does it say about your capacity to do well in the exams.

  • Whereas if you start on Thursday night and cram

  • then if you fail, it's just because you're lazy and you crammed.

  • You're not stupid, you're perfectly normal.

  • Now, your prefrontal cortex,

  • it knows that this is a stupid decision.

  • You know that failure is a positive learning experience

  • and that it's better to be safe than sorry.

  • But remember that your amygdala is about subconscious reactions.

  • So how can we overcome procrastination

  • if we have a monkey in our brains making decisions on our behalf?

  • The answer is something called "metacognition":

  • Thinking about thinking.

  • So we have to acknowledge that

  • we aren't gonna be the ones making the decision

  • to study tomorrow.

  • We're gonna have this spontaneous lazy monkey

  • making decisions on our behalf

  • because we're too scared to do it ourselves.

  • And there is a few things that we have to plan

  • in order to overcome this:

  • We have to plan goals.

  • So plan exactly what you need to do,

  • split it up into parts, and we find that

  • the task is a lot less overwhelming for all in a monkey.

  • Plan time. So figure out exactly

  • what you're gonna get done in what time frame

  • and remember guys,

  • this is not something you need to do everytime you need to study,

  • this is just something that you need to get into the habit of doing automatically

  • when you realize that you need to get something done.

  • Plan resources.

  • So if you spend ten minutes before you start working

  • to get everything you need in the table in front of you,

  • you can't go ahead and later convince yourself that

  • you need to use Google

  • or you need to go on Facebook to get something

  • because everything you need is in front of you.

  • Plan the process. So research has shown that

  • if you visualize the process of doing something,

  • the task becomes easier to do.

  • If you close your eyes and think about what you need to do,

  • then, you brain is tricked into thinking that you've done it before

  • and it becomes so much easier to get things done.

  • Plan for distractions: so you know that you monkey mind

  • is gonna wanna check Facebook every five minutes.

  • You have to make a commitment to stay focused

  • and not get distracted.

  • And lastly plan for failure.

  • So, say you're doing a maths problem

  • and you come to a question that you can't do:

  • this is usually the time

  • when people decide to take a five-minute break!

  • I know that the saying "Don't give up!" is cliché

  • but I think that when it comes to roadblocks

  • when we are trying to do something

  • it's especially relevant,

  • and it's not just while we are studying, it's in every part of life.

  • If we procrastinate when we come to a roadblock,

  • then I don't think we're ever gonna get around to

  • solving the problem.

  • You have to learn to grind your teeth and get through it.

  • Oh dear!

  • So, this quote said:

  • "Don't wait. The time will never be just right."

  • and it's by Napoleon Hill.

  • So I think, as students, the number one reason why we tend to procrastinate

  • is because we don't think the conditions are perfect for proactivity.

  • We wait until the weekend to write an essay,

  • we wait until we're in the "zone" to be creative,

  • we wait until we have money to give to charity...

  • I think that if we get into the habit of planning,

  • thinking about thinking and getting things done quickly

  • then the world becomes our oyster

  • and our future will become a lot more prosperous.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I would like to introduce our next speaker of the night:

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【TEDx】Why we procrastinate by Vik Nithy @ [email protected]

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/02/12
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