(10/05/2011, 5:22 am) It is somehow different from other vices, lacking the instant gratification that I associate with self-destructive behaviors. Unhealthy foods taste good. Cigarettes can be relieving, alcohol relaxing. Illicit drugs provide a high never to be replicated again. Intercourse ends with the euphoria of orgasm (at least for most of the men involved). There seems to be an immediate chemical benefit to these other activities, a pre-wiring (of sorts) in the brain that predisposes us to their deleterious effects.
Why is it then that I procrastinate? There is no associated euphoric experience to accompany a lack of activity, is there? Many people can become addicted to how they feel when they do something, whereas procrastination, on the other hand, seems a natural compulsion to not do something, but seems just as addicting. As with true “addictions” people procrastinate to the point of self-destruction, having full knowledge of the negative impact it will have on them in the future.
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(10/05/2011, 5:46 am) In only a few clicks of the mouse, I begin to understand. The pre-frontal cortex (“Get to Work!”) is competing with the limbic system (“No, I don’t like it”). Meanwhile, Dopamine is rewarding us when we consider tasks that are closer to their full attainment (“MNF is only a click away, but my paperwork won’t be finished for another hour”). With a little research, procrastination is not such a mystery after all, but a dopamine release from Toddlers and Tiaras, when there are dishes to be done, remains unexplained.