The Science Behind Procrastination


TIME

There’s no more elegant example of the cyclical self-torture of procrastination than the lyrics to a song from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Our hero has a book report due. He sings in a halting, panicky monotone:

“If I start writing now…when I’m not really rested…it could upset my thinking which is not good at all…I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow…and it’s not due till Wednesday…so I’ll…have all of Tuesday unless…something should happen…Why does this always happen…I should be outside playing…getting fresh air and sunshine…I work best under pressure and there’ll be lots of pressure if I…wait till tomorrow…I should start writing now but if I…start writing now when I’m not really rested…it could upset my thinking…which is not good at all.”

Ring a bell? It’s a monologue we all experience in some form, an agonizing internal conversation that fells the best of us. And that’s…

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