Translator: Ali Sumait Proofreader: Ahmad Altamimi When I was at university... I majored in government work which meant I had to write a lot of papers, now when any normal student writes a paper, their work schedule looks almost like this... You see.. The work at first is slow, but during the first week you get done enough to make you see the next heavy days look productive and nice..
And I hope to do it the same way, so that's the plan.. I'll start writing the schedule to get to work, and then he comes Time to write... and I end up like this! And that happens in every paper I write... until I was asked to write a 90-page graduation thesis, a paper we're supposed to work on all year long! And for a paper like this, my usual work schedule was not an option..because the project was so huge I started planning the project, and decided that the schedule should look something like this..this is how the year will pass..I will start with the easy and light work, then I will increase the effort a little in the middle of the year And at the end of the year I will work as hard as I can.. It will be very easy as climbing a ladder, step by step. How difficult can climbing stairs be? Not a big deal, right? But the funniest thing happened to me..
In the first months, it came and went quickly, and I couldn't do anything. So I decided to change my plan a little... And then... But the middle of the year actually went by so quickly, and I didn't write a word. It is now here! The two months were reduced to one month .. Then to two weeks .. And one day I woke up, and there were only three days left until delivery!! And I didn't write a word yet, so I did the only thing I could do, I wrote 90 pages in 72 hours, and went on two whole days without sleep .. Humans shouldn't stay up two days without sleep, I ran to the university, in slow motion I handed the paper on time Exactly specified! I thought I accomplished everything. A week later, I got a call, it was a call from the university. They asked, "Are you Tim Urban?" She answered, "Yes." They said, "We have to discuss your thesis with you." I said, "Okay." They said, "It's the best thesis we've seen in our lives!" That didn't actually happen, It was a really bad thesis...
I just wanted to enjoy the moment when you thought, "This guy is amazing!" No, no, it was pretty bad anyway, today I'm a writer and blogger... I write in a blog called "Wait but why?" Two years ago I decided to write about procrastination and postponement. My actions always baffled the non-procrastinators around me and why I postpone my actions. I wanted to explain to these and to the world, what is going on in the heads of those who procrastinate and postpone their actions, and why we are like this. I had a theory that the minds of procrastinators are really different from other people and to test this, I found a lab that allowed me to use an MRI machine to image my brain and the brain of another man who doesn't put off work so I can compare them, and I brought the pictures with me for you to see today for yourself, I want you now to take a closer look and notice If there is a difference..
I know not all of you are experts, and it's not obvious but just look, okay? So here's a picture of the brain that doesn't delay, And now -- here's a picture of my brain. There is a difference. Both minds contain the 'rational decision maker' but the procrastinator's mind also contains the 'instant pleasure monkey' Now, what does this mean for the procrastinator? It means everything is fine until this happens..
Man: "This is the perfect time to get the work done" Monkey: "No!" So the will do something useful and productive. But the monkey doesn't like the plan, so the monkey takes the wheel and says: Why don't we read the whole Wikipedia page about the scandal of Nancy and Tonya because I just remembered that this happened! And then -- And then we're going to go to the fridge to see if anything changes in it 10 minutes ago -- and then we're going to go into the YouTube vortex that starts with videos of Richard Feynman talking about magnets and ends after a very long time watching interviews With Justin Bieber's mom ...
Monkey: "It's all going to take time, and there's no room to do anything today . Sorry!" Now, what's going on here! Behind the helm.. he lives entirely in the present moment, with no memory of the past and no knowledge of the future.. he only cares about two things: "easy and fun" in the animal world, that works perfectly. If you're a dog, and you do nothing but And to monkeys, humans are just another kind of animal. They eat, sleep and reproduce.. which would have been normal in primitive times.
But, if you haven't noticed, we are not in those times we are in. It is a developed and civilized time and the monkey does not know the meaning of that.That is why there is in our head , which gives us abilities that no other animal can do, we can imagine the future, forget You can see the big picture and we can make long-term plans..the decision maker takes all this into account, and wants us to only do what seems right and logical to do now..and sometimes doing something makes sense and is fun at the same time, like attending dinner or going To sleep, or have fun in free time.
This is why there is an overlap between the logical and the enjoyable..sometimes they agree, and at other times, it seems more logical to do something difficult and unpleasant for the greater good. And here the contradiction occurs. For the procrastinator, this conflict always ends in the same way, which makes him spend most of his time in the orange zone, a pleasant and easy zone completely separate from the logic circuit.
I call it 'The Dark Playground'. Now, the is a place you all procrastinators know well. A place where leisure activities occur in a time that is not actually free time. The fun you have in the is not real fun, because it is totally undeserved and the atmosphere around you is filled with guilt, unhappiness, anxiety and self- loathing all the beautiful feelings of procrastinators.. And the question when the monkey is behind the wheel is: How does the procrastinator transfer himself to The Blue Zone, an area where things are less fun and easy but much more important...
well, it turns out that the one who delays his work has a guardian angel, someone who is always watching him and looking at him in his darkest and darkest moments... someone called the Dread Monster Now sleeps most of the time.. but it wakes up suddenly, when any deadline is very near or there is a danger of embarrassment in front of people or losing a job, or any other frightening consequence.. and the most important thing is that it is the only thing that scares the monkey. Now, this monster has recently become so connected to my life , because the TED conference people called me six months ago and invited me to talk about it. Of course I said, 'Yeah, it's always been my dream to speak at TED in the past.' And in the midst of all the excitement, the decision maker was thinking something else.
He was saying, "Are we clear about what we agreed on a little while ago? Do we know what will happen one day in the future? We should sit down and prepare the speech right now." On the bottom of India and explore it for two and a half hours until we reach the top of India, in order to educate ourselves about this country.” So that’s what we did that day. Six months turned into 4, then into 2 and then into one month.. A conference decided TED Conference Speakers Announcement, and when I opened the site, I saw a picture of my face staring at me.
And guess who woke up? The Panic Beast started losing his mind.. And in a few seconds, the system turned into chaos. The monkey - remember, the monkey is afraid of the Dread Monster - and ran up the tree ! Finally, the could take the helm and I could start working on the lecture now represents all kinds of crazy behavior of procrastinators, like how I could To spend two weeks with all kinds of behavior on writing one sentence in my thesis, then miraculously, the words come continuously in two days to write 8 pages! .This whole case with the three personally T, this is the procrastinator system.
It's not pretty, but in the end, it works. And this is what I decided to write on the blog two years ago and when I wrote, I was stunned by the responses, the thousands of messages I received, from all kinds of people, from all over the world, doing all kinds of jobs. They were nurses, bankers, painters, engineers and many, many more Ph.D. students, and they all said writing saying the same thing: "I have the same problem." What struck me was the contrast between the lightness of the words I wrote and the weight of these letters, these people were writing in great frustration about what procrastination had done to them in their lives, about what this monkey had done to them.
And when I thought about it, I thought to myself: If the procrastination system works, what happens? Why are these people so frustrated? It turns out that there are two types of procrastination, everything I talked about today, all the examples, they all have a deadline. And when there are deadlines , the effect of delay is contained and compressed in the short term because gets involved.. But there is another kind of delay, one that happens in circumstances that don't have a deadline. For example, if you want to start a freelance business, something in art, or an entrepreneurial business.. these businesses have no deadlines in the beginning, because nothing happened in the first place. Whereas if you go out and start hard work to gain some activity to do other work. There are also a lot of important work outside of your work that doesn't have deadlines.. like visiting your family or sports and taking care of your health, working to develop your relationships, or cutting bad relationships.. Now, if the only procrastinator way to end these difficult things is by , there's a problem, because in all these important jobs that don't have deadlines, the monster won't appear.
He has no time to wake up. So, the effect of delay will not be contained and therefore, these actions will continue and extend forever.. and this is the type of long-term procrastination that is not seen or talked about as much as the first type: fun, short-term and containing deadlines. Usually people of the second type suffer quietly and in privacy.. and this procrastination may be a great source of long-term sadness and regret. I thought: This is why these people are texting me, and that is why they are in such a bad condition. Not because they are aiming for a specific project, but because of that long-term delay that made them like spectators, sometimes, over their own lives.. Their frustration does not come from not achieving their dreams, but because they were unable to pursue them in the first place. As I read the letters a kind of inspiration came to me: I don't think there's anyone who doesn't put off their work, that's right, I think you're all procrastinators, of course, you might not be messy.. like some of us. And some of you might be on good terms with deadlines.
But remember: the monkey's secret trick is when there's no deadline. Now, I want to show you one last thing.. I call this: Each square represents a week in the life of 90 years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of it.. especially since we've used a lot of it before I think we all need to take a deep look at this schedule . And we should think about what we're really putting off, because each of us has something to put off in our life. We should be wary of the instant pleasure monkey, that's a job for all of us.