Help Your Procrastinators… Now?
You might be a procrastinator if…
…you’ve ever spent Christmas Eve in a Walmart.
…your personal mantra is, “mañana”
…you’re procrastinating right now by reading this article.
Roughly 15% of all adults chronically engage in “problematic procrastination”. Among college students this number is as high as 50%. And this “problematic procrastination” can have some very real and lasting impacts. In fact, “procrastination” ranks third on a study of most profound career-limiting habits and can even lead to higher instances of college dropouts.
But new research suggests that a person’s propensity to procrastinate may not be entirely their fault. In fact, some people’s brains might simply hardwired for procrastination.
Keep reading, or click here for more information about supporting your procrastinators and helping them succeed… right away.
Procrastination…it’s all in your head
Through surveys and brain scans of 264 participants, a study published in this month’s Psychological Science found that the amygdala – the part of the brain that processes our emotions and controls our motivation – was larger in procrastinators. These individuals also had poorer connections between the amygdala and a part of the brain called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC). The DACC uses information from the amygdala to decide what action the body will take, and helps keep a person on track by blocking out competing emotions and distractions.
Essentially, it comes down to emotion. Procrastinator’s brains have a harder time filtering out interfering emotions and distractions. They also experience higher levels of anxiety about the negative consequences of an action, so they tend to hesitate and put off things.
“This study provides physiological evidence of the problem procrastinators have with emotional control. It shows how the emotional centers of the brain can overwhelm a person’s ability for self-regulation.”
– Tim Pychyl, Professor, Carleton University, Ottawa, who has been studying procrastination for the past few decades
Changing the Brain to Eliminate The Bad Habit of Procrastination
The good news is that the brain is incredibly adaptable. That means that people can absolutely overcome the bad habit of procrastination. For example, research has proven that mindfulness and meditation can actually decrease the size of the amygdala, leading to greater emotional control. Additional studies show that training people on emotional response skills and time management strategies can significantly reduce procrastination.
This is precisely the goal of the Procrastination unit in our Steps to Success Course. Colleges and corporations alike can help students and employees become more productive and more successful by training them to be more mindful of their procrastination tendencies. Students and employees can use this unit to learn why they procrastinate and where they tend to practice this bad habit more frequently. The course also provides strategies to address areas of procrastination. And our personalized, adaptive approach ensures that they’ll not only master the information but they’ll also be able apply it in the real world.
All this means that students and employees can exercise greater control over their time and their preparation – which will lead to less anxiety, better performance, and an improved sense of well being.
We also want to help increase graduation rates and student success rates, in terms of performance and achievement. In fact, our entire Steps to Success course is made up of skills-based units designed to increase the likelihood of achievement – whether it be graduating on time or preparing for future career advancement. Sample topics include time management, goal setting, reading and writing strategies and test-taking best practices. While these topics might seem obvious at first glance, especially to someone who has already mastered them, if a person isn’t equipped with these skills, success can be elusive and the pathway stressful.
To help you see the bigger picture of the life-changing skills, download an outline Fulcrum’s Steps to Success course, which includes our Procrastination unit. Or contact us directly to see how this content can help your students and employees understand and reduce procrastination within their study, work and life.
Speaking of skills key to success… how about Time Management?
Or Goal Setting?