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So in college, I had to write a lot of papers. Now, when a normal student writes a paper,
they might spread the work out a little like this: You get started a little bit slowly
but you get enough done in the first week that with some heavier days later on, everything
gets done and things stay civil. I would have it all ready to go but then actually the paper
would come along and I would kind of do this. And that would happen every single paper.
But then came my 90 page senior thesis. Those first few months, they came and went and I
couldn't quite do stuff. And one day I woke up with 3 days until the deadline, not having
written a word, I wrote 90 pages over 72 hours, pulling not one but two all nighters. Now
I had a hypothesis- that the brains of procrastinators were actually different from the brains of
other people. So, here's the brain of a non-procrastinator. Now, here's my brain: Both brains have a rational
decision maker in them, but the procrastinator's brain also has an instant gratification monkey.
So the rational decision maker will make the rational decision to do something productive,
but the monkey doesn't like that plan. And he says "Actually let's read the entire wikipedia
page of the Nancy Kerrigan Tonya Harding Scandal cause I just remembered that happened." The
instant gratification monkey does not seem like a guy you would want behind the wheel,
he lives entirely in the present moment, he only cares about two things: easy and fun.
How does the procrastinator ever get himself over to this blue zone? A less pleasant place
but where really important things happen. The procrastinator has a guardian angel, someone
called the "Panic Monster". The Panic Monster suddenly wakes up anytime a deadline gets
too close or there's danger of public embarassment or some other scary consequence. This entire
situation with the three characters, this is the procrastinator's system. It's not pretty,
but in the end it works. Everything I've talked about today, the examples I've given, they
all have deadlines. And when there's deadlines, the effects of procrastination are contained
because the panic monster gets involved. But there's a second kind of procrastination:
when there is no deadline. So, if you wanna have a career where you wanna be a self starter:
something in the arts, something entrepreneurial, or exercising and taking care of your health.
There's no deadlines on those things at first. All of these non-deadline situations, the
panic monster doesn't show up. So the effects of procrastination, they're not contained,
they just extend outward forever. And it's this long-term kind of procrastination that's
much less visible. It's usually suffered quietly and privately and it can be the source of
a huge amount of long term unhappiness. Now I wanna show you one last thing. I call this
a "Life Calendar" That's one box for every week of a 90 year life. We need to think about
what we're really procrastinating on. We need to stay aware of the instant gratification
monkey. That's a job for all of us. And, because there's not that many boxes on there, it's
a job you should probably start today. Thank you.
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Tim Urban | Inside the mind of a master procrastinator (Short Version)

5184 Folder Collection
Lala Haha published on May 30, 2016    歆茹 translated    吳宜臻 reviewed
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