Temporal Delay – Star Wars or Inner Wars

I came across a reference to Temporal Delay today and with the Star Trek movie out, one might assume that it had something to do with that… but the truth is that it is related to procrastination, perhaps more of an inner wars kind of thing. The article talked about one of the motivators for us to procrastinate… when a project’s due date is far off we have no real desire to get it done. Once it gets closer and closer, then we are more motivated by immediate gratification to get it done. This, in a nut shell, is the phenomenon of temporal delay.

What’s interesting is that we seem to be wired this way from an evolutionary standpoint. Our ancestors needed to worry themselves about the immediate present to survive. This reinforced the need to procrastinate unless there was an immediate return on the effort.

So, this sounds like the perfect excuse for why we need to procrastinate. It’s not. But, I believe it helps us understand procrastination and how we can manage it. Always working in a last minute mentality can help to get things done but it can be extremely taxing to the person’s mental and physical health. The counter to that is that some people can balance the procrastination just the right amount to use it as the motivator to get things done close to the deadline. In this case, they are getting the maximum results for their effort. What’s the right thing to do?

There is no complete consensus on how to stop procrastination or even if that’s a good idea, but one strategy that can often work is to just get started. Just do something. In some cases, that can mean doing anything even if it’s not related to the project at hand. Just getting started often is enough momentum to get one moving to completion on the project.

For those of you familiar with my Performance Shift Model, you can imagine that I believe that the starting block to dealing with procrastination is to observe one’s procrastination. That is the starting block. It will allow you to understand your motivations and give you clues as to how to manage them. However you deal with your procrastination, I hope that you are successful (in a timely manner).