This Is Why Your Brain Procrastinates

You know you've got that deadline. You know the smart and easy thing to do about it would be to just start working. But something is holding you back — something that says you can get it done later.

About 1 in 5 of us are "true" or chronic procrastinators. We delay working on something to the point where it starts negatively affecting our relationships, our output, and even our mental health. It doesn't matter where in the world we live or whether we also deal with things like ADHD: Twenty percent of people everywhere struggle with "culpably unwarranted delay."

Neuroscientists at Germany's Ruhr-Universität Bochum have just released a study looking into the physical characteristics of procrastinators' brains. The very short version is that they found some differences in the size and connectivity of the amygdala in procrastinators. The amygdala is linked to action control and assessing situational threats. This might lead to insufficient regulation of negative thoughts and alternative action plans.

There's not much you can do about your amygdala, but you can give yourself ways to break out of your procrastination habit. One is to recognize what you're struggling with at heart, whether it's imposter syndrome, perfectionism, or some other mental block. Check in with yourself when you're feeling stuck, both physically and emotionally. Train yourself to recognize what you're doing and pick a method for overcoming this particular hump (not all humps ever, not all humps you've failed to overcome in the past, just this one). Your brain is not you — and whatever you need to accomplish, you can definitely get it done.