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“Hack” procrastination: how do I do work that I don’t want to do

We think we are sentient beings. We even believe that we have a certain “I” that has constant and unchanging qualities. Allegedly, today we are “I”, yesterday they were, tomorrow we will also be “I”.

This fundamental error becomes clear when we are faced with procrastination. In a striking way, at the moment when you need to show your “constant qualities” and begin the necessary work, we turn into unreasonable children, ready to be distracted by anything, just not to get down to business.

To choose keywords, write a post for social networks, draw up a content plan, prepare a tax return on time – these are tasks that our brain understands, and we even have the skill to solve them. But we are ready to fail the deadlines for no reason, and then scared to wonder – why did we do this?

Deadline ringing a bell
Despite the fact that science is still far from understanding the principles of the human brain, it has quite seriously advanced in the study of chemical-electric processes of motivation and reward.

Scientists have every reason to laugh gaily at our ideas about the qualitative invariability of their “I” and say: “Guys, you are a set of states of mind and feelings that change every minute. How do you manage to get into your jeans with your feet, distinguish between “tys and tys” and remember the tax rates for individual entrepreneurs on the simplified tax system? You are really only concerned with surviving and giving birth right now, and then getting a chemical carrot inside your head for it. ”

If everything is extremely simplified, then we begin to do any work in a natural way only at the moment when the neurotransmitter dopamine is enough in the front of the brain, and we continue to do it if the concentration does not decrease. Dopamine makes us feel that soon, there will be a bun! Nice sweet reward! Endorphins can act as a bun on their own or in conjunction with GABA and serotonin.

In human language, such a “bun” is usually called happiness, pleasure, satisfaction and peace. Dopamine itself is involved, as it were, in preparing for happiness, in shaping the feeling of its anticipation.

In fact, this neurotransmitter, developed in the hypothalamus, is involved in all types of motivation – to work, learn new skills, learn generally, have sex, search for delicious food and even survive in war.

Science tells us that procrastination is associated with aversion to the task, boredom, uncertainty and guilt.

One of the reasons for procrastination, scientists call the priority of short-term reinforcement and recovery of mood over long-term achievement of the goal. That is, we, like children, need to have a bun now. A bun somewhere in the future does not light us. Dopamine is not produced on it.

“When would you know from what rubbish a quarterly report is born …”
Therefore, instead of embarking on a task that is boring (and most of the work on Earth is boring in principle), we think: “Right now I’ll go through one level …”. And we drive a two-hour toy in the genre of “three in a row.” After all, after each level, our brain receives a short charge of endorphins and serotonin. Unless, of course, analysts from the development team built a good balance in the game. And in anticipation of this charge, we have a sufficient concentration of dopamine to feel a desire to get a chemical reward sooner.

A work task that does not teach us anything new and does not promise rewards right now does not raise the level of dopamine, which “includes” motivation for action.

However, animal experiments have shown that if the dopamine receptors of the so-called “midbrain” are artificially aroused, motivation for actions (which normally imply a chemical reward) arises regardless of whether this reward is at all.

This state of affairs gives us the opportunity to “hack” our reinforcement system. That is, before doing work, somehow cause the production of dopamine.

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But here it’s important not to overdo it
Too much dopamine does not allow you to concentrate on one task. A recent study found that in women who are genetically prone to increased dopamine production, procrastination is a common problem.

To simplify, they are too interested in alternative activities that you can indulge in right now. Therefore, such people are easily distracted from the main task. They are called “impulsive”.

May dopamine be with you!
A year ago, another physiological reason for the delay before the start of the case was discovered: it turns out that procrastinators have more amygdala in the brain than the rest. Among other things, the tonsil is responsible for the feeling of fear, the memory of the fear experienced and for the expectation of something terrible. By the way, our old friend, dopamine, is also involved in the process of this expectation. He generally actively participates in the emergence of emotions.

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