Thursday, February 24, 2011

Periodicity or "Was du heute kannst besorgen, dass verschiebe nicht auf morgen"

It doesn't seem to go too well with my blog. Why? In brief, because I procrastinate. Procrastination is the thief of time. This is not the literal translation of the phrase above, but it is the one that sounds most close to a proverb. Fortunately, and I am really grateful for it, my friends keep reminding me that it is time for a new post!
I am pondering about procrastination a lot lately. However I spin it, I don't seem to really understand, why it is so easy to develop bad habits, like procrastination, but so much more difficult to develop good habits, like doing things regularly.
The neuroscientist probably would comment that it happens because of our reward system. I have to confess I know very little of the chemistry in our brains, but here is the point I do not understand: why is only short term gain rewarded and not long term gain? Contrary to the immediate pleasant feeling of laziness, activity usually has a much higher payoff like health, financial security, appreciation, less stress and an improved personal environment. On the other side, the instant benefit of watching a TV show, whatever it may be, seems to be of primary importance to our synapses.
Are we evolutionary delayed? Did our reward system not catch up with the present encounters of our everyday life? Of course on an evolutionary scale, the time span is very short, since we do not have to primarily fight for our bare existence. At this time instant rewards probably made more sense, as we did not have to plan a career or fight obesity.
So I am left with my favorite proverb: Was du heute kannst besorgen, das veschiebe nicht auf morgen. Do what you can do today and don't procrastinate until tomorrow. Time to go for a run....


  1. procrastinators: leaders of tomorrow

  2. i think procrastination is a good thing (and i would never have learned this word hadnt it been for procrastinating during my PhD when i discovered the PhDcomics that all... well... tell you about... procrastination. and i had never been able to write this word hadnt i done some procrastination right now....)
    i think its good and necessary. you cant focus 100% of the time. you need a little bulshit time every now and then, so that you can continue with a more refreshed brain. i realize that now more than ever, in a place where checking facebook or sending a textmessage is not allowed...
    however, doing it for too long. letting your incubation times go way beyond the sound of the timer (i started to use one again), is not good. and even though you sometimes do that.. you certainly feel that you are wasting your time bulsshitting around, toch?

  3. I guess you are right that some procrastination (yes it is a very interesting word to spell and pronounce) is okay. But still I wonder why the opposite is so much more difficult. It is not proportional...

  4. procrastination is great! im going to do it.. ah. meh.. i'm too tired right now. i will do it tomorrow.

  5. Maybe this helps: