Why Do We Procrastinate?

I recently read this great article “What causes your brain to procrastinate and how to face it” by Richard Sima, in the Washington Post. This post is a review of the article and some thoughts about how to face tasks we often procrastinate doing. Below is the direct link to the article being reviewed.


Why We Procrastinate

I am all to familiar with the concept of procrastination. There are times even now that I procrastinate in doing things that are simply not fun. This article was very interesting because it reviewed a study which examined what contributed towards people procrastinating.

In a study done, by Dr. Raphaël Le Bouc, with 43 adults they found several contributing factors that led to people procrastinating. The study found that people were more likely to procrastinate if their brain was convinced that doing the task in the future would be easier. They even concluded through MRI imaging that the part of the brain that makes this decision is the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex.

It was also concluded in the study that participants tended to procrastinate when the task was more difficult and not enjoyable. I can totally relate to this! For some reason when things are harder to accomplish it always feels like there will be a right time to do it in the future or to avoid doing to the point where I simply forget about it. This actually happened to me at work a couple of months ago where I was trying to figure out how to make a transition and was way overthinking and procrastinated. But in reality when I finally took care of it, it took 15 minutes to do. It was my perception of how hard the task was going to be that made it more difficult then it actually was.

Another finding that was concluded in this study is that people are more likely to do tasks for smaller rewards that come sooner then larger rewards that you have to wait for. This is I’m sure no surprise to any of us because we live in a world with instant gratification. The idea of doing more work with less immediate reward takes a lot more patience, discipline, and strategy. When I’m working towards goals that have bigger rewards but are far out in the future I often have to give myself a lot of pep talks to stay motivated and stay the course. It’s hard!!

How We Can Face Our Tasks

The study concluded that to decrease procrastination there are two main strategies to use. The first is to consistently remind yourself of the task. The second is to confront the idea that it will be easier in the future with the truth that it will be the same effort as completing the task today.

I actually started a to-do list journal for work last year and it has helped me a lot with procrastinating. I have a to do list for each month and one for each week. This allows me to stay on track and make the most of my time.

Comment below with your thoughts about the article and what helps you not procrastinate!


Sima, R. (2023). “What causes your brain to procrastinate and how to face it” Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/01/05/procrastination-help-brain-tasks/

Daily Resilience

Today I want to talk about our brain’s neuroplasticity. This is so cool! Our brain has the ability to generate new neuropathways and neurons! It can literally adapt to our habits and decisions. This might sound like a boring topic, but it is life changing!! Since our brain is malleable and able to create new pathways it allows us to change our lifestyle, the way we think, and how we live. Our brain creates neuropathways to allow our body to work efficiently. This is why it can be so hard to break old habits because our brain and body have adjusted to the old habits and have neuropathways to support those. But there is hope that our brain can build new pathways to support new habits. Can you think of a time when you first started a new habit and it was really hard? But when you stuck to it and kept practicing it got easier and easier, this is because of neuroplascity. How can we use our brain’s neuroplasticity to support our new habits? The key is the tool of attention! Using your focus, energy, and attention to work towards the new habit. This is very practical to do. How can be use our attention as a tool:

  • Focusing your attention daily on the new habit through journaling and tracking
  • Practice the new skill or habit regularly
  • Make a vision board to focus on your new goal
  • Training your brain for the new habit by doing research or making a plan for implementing the new habit
  • Talk about your new habit regularly with an accountability buddy or group
Resilience sign with wooden cubes on background

Resilience & The Brain

Stress and trauma impact the way our body and brain functions. Have you ever felt so stressed or upset that it was hard to think clearly? It can be hard to calm our mind and think clearly when we are stressed, working through traumatic experiences, or living in survival modes. But there is hope! We have the power to change our brain! You and I can use tools of resilience to increase our calmness and to release stressful energy and sensations in our body.

Hand holding colorful brain sketch on concrete background. Creative mind concept by peshkova

First let’s talk about how stress and trauma impacts our brains and bodies. Our brain has something called the amygdala that acts as an alert system. When the amygdala detects a trigger of a past trauma or danger to our emotional or physical safety it alerts the body to release stress hormones in order for the body to get to safety. When this happens we begin to be in survival modes of fight, flight, or freeze. When we are in these survival modes we can have a hard time thinking clearly and we may lose our ability to problem solve and can become emotionally reactive. Being in a state of survival for long periods of time can impact our brain and body in negative ways.

https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-2200846797501372 (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

But do you remember that hope I talked about earlier? Hope that we can change our brain? It’s all because our brain was designed in a way that allows for it to have something called neuroplasticity. This just means that our brain has the ability to build new neuropathways in order to support the habits we are living out today. This is important because when we are first doing something new it feels really hard and difficult. But eventually as we keep pursuing this new habit it gets easier and easier. The reason for that is that our brain is building new neuropathways to support our life choices.

User practicing mindfulness meditation in lotus pose. Calmness and releasing stress concept landing page. Mindful meditating, consciousness and focusing. Header or footer banner template. by Visual Generation

What kind of tools can we use to create this new habit of feeling calm instead of being in a survival mode or overwhelmed by stress? The key to allowing the brain to build new pathways for new habits is practicing tools of resilience by using the tool of attention. We can use our attention by focusing on things that bring us sensations of calmness. This could be a grounding exercise where we are placing our attention to a solid surface that is supporting us like the seat of a chair, or the floor beneath our feet. During this type of exercise you would just want to focus all of your attention towards that solid surface and allow any distracting thought to be still as you focus in on that support. Another skill is to focus on a good thing in your life or something that is a resource to you. It could be your pet that you love dearly, a hobby you enjoy, a place you love to go, or a memory that is dear to you. Taking a moment to think of something that brings you joy can be a calming experience. Below is a journal prompt to help practice using the skill of attention.



Threshold Globalworks, founder of Social Resilience Model. Welcome To Threshold Globalworks – Threshold GlobalWorks