Definitively Not( James )


I read a really interesting medium post by Piotr Migdal about procrastination. In particular, it reframes the issue of procratination from being a productivity problem into what else it could be: an emotional management problem.

Timothy Pychyl writes about this in Psychology Today summarizing a few studies. We’re conditioned to not enjoy bad outcomes and often that is exhibited by enacting our emotion-coping mechanisms - fight, flight, or freeze. Anxious about something? Easy. Just don’t do it. Procrastination and giving up a bit of self control is a form of mood repair.

There’s a bit of truth in there and it’s something good to introspect about. Fight, flight, or freeze has been a part of our instinctual responses for a long time. It served us very well in the past and can today as well. Flat out rejecting this and fighting it as a time management issue may be burying other problems and exacerbating it long term. Some theories point at one cause of depression being another outlet of the freeze response - a biological defense mechanism to trauma perceived by our autonomic nervous system.

Introspection on how you’re feeling the next time you feel that need to get away from it all (by cleaning or watching netflix) might be more effective than tomato timers or to-do lists.