Let’s face it, we’ve all procrastinated at some point in our lives. Maybe you talked about cutting sugary food out of your diet, or said that you’ll write that book you’ve been thinking about eventually. Or perhaps you’ve decided you’ll sign up for cryonics but just haven’t managed to sit down and do it. It’s time to learn how to stop procrastinating, and finally, do all the things you’ve always wanted to do.
Procrastination and short-term thinking are instinctual behaviors that come from a period of time when thinking in the here-and-now was our best means of survival. Over time, humanity has developed a new skill: long-term thinking.
Long-term and short-term thinking rarely point in the same direction. This may not be a problem when it comes to small decisions, like when to clean the house because we really want to watch the new episode of our favorite series. However, procrastination becomes a problem when we postpone life decisions. We keep telling ourselves “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ve got plenty of time to sign up for cryopreservation, I can do it later” until it becomes too late. Cryonics is not about the short-term, but the long-term.
As mentioned before, procrastinating is an instinctual behavior. There are several causes as to how and why we procrastinate. In this article, we’ll analyze the three main reasons. It’s important to note that laziness is not one of them. When you procrastinate, you actively decide to do something else instead whereas if you’re lazy, you simply do nothing.
One of the main causes of procrastination, as Tim Urban states in his TEDtalk, “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”, is the “instant gratification monkey”. Tim is a writer, author of the blog Wait But Why, and master procrastinator. His analysis of a procrastinator's brain is pretty on point as he illustrates below.
In essence, we all have a rational decision-maker in our brain that helps us think long-term. Next to it is the instant gratification monkey that takes control and decides to do only things that are fun and easy. Now, most of us procrastinate, but procrastination is not always a problem. Adding to Tim’s metaphor, in some cases the rational decision-maker and the instant gratification monkey share a fairly balanced position at the steering wheel. However, in other cases, the monkey takes control with no hesitation or resistance.
“People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.”
When a task is perceived as boring, complicated, or challenging, the instant gratification monkey takes control, shifting our attention to more simple, pleasant activities.
Procrastination can be connected to a negative emotional state associated with a specific task. However, it can also result from deeper feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, and insecurity. Simple tasks can be perceived as impossible if we believe we aren’t good enough to achieve them. In these cases, the instant gratification monkey gives us relief from self-doubt.
This instinctual response to stress is called “amygdala hijack”. The amygdala is the part of the brain that recognizes threats. When something makes us feel anxious or stressed, the amygdala perceives it as an actual threat. This activates the fight or flight response. We may recognize intellectually that removing the task from the present moment will create even more stress in the future. Yet, our brain is wired to get rid of it immediately. To avoid procrastination, we must go against our instincts.
Finally, there is a more sly type of procrastination. Ever feel like you are not advancing in your life, despite the fact you are productive all the time? If you do, it means you’re experiencing what’s called “productive procrastination”. While you prioritize everyday tasks, you’re postponing projects that would make a difference in your life.
It’s easy to recognize procrastination when, instead of fixing your CV to apply for a better job, you spend hours watching cat videos on Youtube. Productive procrastination, however, is harder to notice. If you think short-term, you prioritize activities that may influence your week, but to improve your life, you have to think long-term. Signing up for cryopreservation is thinking beyond the immediate, as the expectation is that you will eventually live in the future.
Now that we’ve analyzed some of the main reasons behind procrastinating, what can we do to stop doing it?
First of all, we have to understand our own reasons why we do this. It could be one of the reasons above or it could be a combination of them. Understanding ourselves, without judgment, is the first step to knowing why we procrastinate. Once this is done, you can try applying these tips to your own life:
The problem with procrastination is when we postpone important life decisions. For example, when we spend months putting off going to the doctor because we are afraid of receiving bad news regarding our health. Or when we know we want to sign up for cryonics, aka human cryopreservation, but we postpone it because we think it’s something we don’t need to think about now.
Procrastinating signing up for cryonics is so common that there’s even a term for it: cryocrastination. Many people are stuck in this phase for years. They know they want to be cryopreserved, but they don’t see the urgency to take action. Why? There are different reasons as to why, but ultimately, they are thinking short-term. If you think in the here-and-now, it might seem rational to wait for the cryopreservation industry to grow and develop before signing up. However, cryonics is not about the present moment. It’s a choice that deals with the future and requires long-term thinking.
Let’s have a look at some reasons why you should sign up for cryonics now, instead of later.
It can be difficult to stop procrastinating. It requires a lot of self-awareness and motivation to work on yourself. Yet, some things in life are very important and it would be a shame to just miss such amazing opportunities.
Cryonics can give you a chance to extend your life in the future. You may think that you can wait a couple of years before joining. But why wait, when there are so many reasons to sign up now?
You can do so by signing up as a Tomorrow Member. Do you have questions about our services? Feel free to reach us via social media on platforms like Discord. We’re happy to help you learn more about us and our services. See you tomorrow!