When do you usually put away your holiday decorations?
Is it a couple of days after Christmas, just before the new year, at the start of January, or do you wait until January 25th to give it a full month?
Many of us are in a holiday mood, so we frequently decide to do something but don’t. We fall into a trap of procrastination.
Science says we are making a huge mistake by putting things off and that those decorations should be in their boxes already.
Each of us has certain things we like to do during the holidays. For some of us, it’s going to a favorite holiday destination or packing as many activities as possible into a day. For others, the holidays mean kicking back and doing as little as possible.
Either way, you are relaxing and possibly engaging in activities that aren’t what you typically do. You aren’t sticking to your normal routine, and although you might think your brain is getting a break, it’s actually not doing that well.
What do you like to do during the holidays?
If you are like many of us, your days and nights suddenly turn into something different. You are relaxing, sleeping late, eating all kinds of holiday foods, and doing stuff you haven’t gotten to all year.
Holiday procrastination could set in quite quickly. There’s the possibility that you don’t get to what you intended to do, and even activities like packing up decorations or putting away gifts get put on hold.
Procrastination, whether during the holidays or at another time during the year, can feel good in the moment.
One part of your brain, the limbic system, regulates feelings of pleasure and reward. It convinces you that you don’t need to do things immediately and rewards you for procrastinating by putting you into a happy place.
The more you procrastinate, the more of a habit it becomes. In the worst-case scenario, you become a chronic procrastinator—a title that about one in five of us have already.
You can Win the Game of Procrastination by changing your thinking. Find out how to do this at our free training.
During the holidays, you want to rest and think that by doing nothing, your brain will get a break. This is a misconception.
Your brain is always working—even while you sleep or do nothing. You can make it easy for your gray matter while you rest, or you can make it a lot harder and cause your brain to work overtime.
You wouldn’t want to work overtime physically, so why would you do it to your brain?
Earlier, we spoke about the limbic system that rewards you for not doing anything. It does this in response to the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for different kinds of behaviors.
The prefrontal cortex helps you to create goals and assists with self-control. It tells you that you should pack away the decorations, wash the dishes, or check your budget.
The limbic system responds by telling you that those activities aren’t any fun. When you give in to these messages, it rewards you with feelings of pleasure.
Essentially, you are making different areas of your brain fight each other. This uses energy and doesn’t allow you to rest; plus, it’s confusing.
Let’s get one thing straight: There are many research studies about the consequences of procrastination. Not a single one of those lists any benefits to procrastination.
In summary: Procrastination will affect your life negatively.
Just imagine how you feel if you only have a couple of days of the holiday season left but still need to put away decorations, get the kids ready for school, and sort out your itinerary before getting back to work.
Besides the obvious fact that you don’t get things done and later feel guilty about your lack of progress, it also reduces logical thinking. This causes anxiety, especially as a deadline approaches.
One study found that students who procrastinate have a lower GPA than the rest of their class. Another study identified that participants who procrastinate get sick more easily and visit healthcare providers more frequently.
If you have fallen into a habit of delaying activities, then you run the risk of becoming a chronic procrastinator. Maybe you are one already and have given your limbic system full control of rewarding you for doing nothing.
Chronic procrastination has its own consequences. It can make you feel like you have reduced energy because doing any activity causes conflict between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. It causes a continuous fight for supremacy that tires you out.
All of this procrastination results in lower self-confidence because you beat yourself up for putting things off and create a misconception that you can’t succeed at anything. The reality is you can’t succeed if you don’t even try.
Low energy and reduced self-confidence could result in more severe mental health conditions. It may cause anxiety and depression, all of which compounds feelings of failure.
Be wary of confusing procrastination with productiveness. It’s easy to fool yourself by saying you are staying busy with other activities instead of doing the most urgent items.
Similarly, some of us believe we work better under pressure, so we wait until the last minute to tend to several tasks. You might think you are doing well, but in reality, these activities don't get the time or attention they deserve.
You need to realize that justifying procrastination won’t get you anywhere. You have to decide to live your life differently. If you take advantage of every minute, then you can do so much more instead of regretting the time wasted at a later time.
It’s time to beat procrastination so that you can do more. Learn strategies for working smarter, not harder, and take control of your time.
All of these details and much more are revealed during the Winning the Game of Procrastination webinar. Reserve your seat today.
Most of us waste 34 hours each week—that’s an astronomical amount. Decide today that this won’t be your reality in 2022 by following these easy steps to put an end to procrastination.
It’s time to end the war between your limbic system and prefrontal cortex. Just give in and let your prefrontal cortex take the lead on all activities since it makes it easier to achieve your goals.
Your brain is complex, but it will still reward you for actually doing things. It will be a much better rush because it accompanies feelings of accomplishment and self-growth.
It’s quite simple: Don’t procrastinate during the holidays. It’s a time for rest, but you can still give your brain a break by doing things that are different from your normal routine.
Think about all the things you want to do during the holidays and make a list. Somewhere on that list, you need to have a task stating that you will pack away the decorations.
To make it easier, consider all the things you do to prepare for the holidays; then, add the opposite of all these activities to your list. For instance, if you hang up Christmas lights, then the task would be to take off (and pack away) the lights.
Gifts you receive during the holidays contain things that you didn’t have a place for previously. Now, you have to make space for them; otherwise, the gifts will be lying around your home for who knows how long.
A day or two after receiving a gift, decide where the best place would be to store the item. Find a dedicated spot so that new items don’t clutter your house.
If you aren’t certain where something should go (or don’t know if you are even going to use it), then place it in a storage container. Check back on it in a month and decide whether you will keep it, regift it, or donate it.
By dealing with decorations, gifts, and other holiday responsibilities at the end of this year, you give yourself a clean slate for 2022. You can start the new year fresh and ready to focus on being a more productive person.
People who eliminate procrastination are wealthier, happier, and have more motivation. They are proud of their achievements and constantly push themselves to do better.
You can be one of these people. All you need to do is to conquer procrastination.
Are you ready to leave procrastination in 2021?
It’s time for big changes, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Make it a priority to attend the Winning the Game of Procrastination training. At this virtual event, we will share the three secrets that will stop your procrastination forever.
Seats are limited, so don’t procrastinate. Register now and get ready to do more than ever before.
NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.
We value your privacy and would never spam you.