We have all heard that lazy people procrastinate. They just don’t want to put out the energy or effort to get things done. But now that we understand some basics about the brain, especially the amygdala, let’s take a look at procrastination and why it might be a survival function instead of laziness.
If you are a sales person, parent or teenager and have to make a phone call where the outcome is not a given, your amygdala will flare up and start talking to you. “If you make that phone call to the customer, you don’t know if that customer will appreciate your product or service. What if they say they don’t want it or need it, what do you say then?”
If you are a parent calling about your child’s behavior at school, absenteeism or grades, your amygdala is warning you, “You may get accused of being a bad parent, delinquent parent or uninterested parent in your child’s welfare.”
If you’re a teenager getting ready to call or even text for a date you may not be sure the person you are calling will say yes. And what if the conversation gets awkward?
Your amygdala warns you of the catastrophe you may encounter. By not doing the task the amygdala gets a break and goes “Ahhhhh, see told you so.” You get rewarded because the amygdala goes off high alert and you feel a soothing response. Everything is back to normal and you stay in a good mood.
“I’ll just do it tomorrow when things are better,” is a classic response we tell ourselves. And how many times have we encountered the next day being a whole lot better and more conducive to making that call? That’s what I thought, rarely.
Thanks for coming along.