- Why do we procrastinate? & How to manage your Procrastination in FMGE Preparation are two of the biggest questions of & FMGE aspirants all the time.
- About 90% of college students procrastinate & about 25 of them are chronic procrastinators according to psychologist William K.Knaus.
What is Procrastination?
- Procrastination: The habit/act of delaying activities for the future is called procrastination.
- You perceive more important tasks as the unpleasant ones & ignore them to choose another more enjoyable or easier one.
- Procrastination is an active process where you choose to do something else instead of the task but laziness is an unwillingness to act.
Reasons for procrastination during the FMGE Preparation:
- Poor organization of the FMGE Preparation:
- Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks.
- Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete.
- No to-do list or priorities & No deadlines.
- Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future.
- Perfect frame trap: Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind or time to work on the FMGE Preparation.
- The misconception of the best output under pressure.
- Poor decision-making.
The neurological basis of procrastination:
- Amygdala hijack: high-pressure scenarios → trigger memories of negative experiences→ amygdala→ fight or flight response → avoids the important task perceived as a threat → choose other enjoyable activities.
- Amygdala is a neuroanatomical hub for fear-motivation behavior to select desirable behaviors and inhibit others.
- The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is responsible for the working memory (hold and manipulate information in your mind), decision making & impulse control is also.
- Weaker connections between the amygdala and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) which another region of the brain responsible for self-control and emotional regulation.
- Vicious cycle: avoiding negative emotions → rewarding by procrastinating → feel guilty or ashamed → avoiding negative emotions → on-off behavior → addiction.
How to Avoid procrastination during the FMGE Preparation?
- Recognize procrastination techniques (time-wasting activities) & Work out on why you’re procrastinating?
- Remove the Distractions: write the delaying tactics that are your favorites & stick in your room to be away from them (turn off your social media,& phone).
- Prioritize your To-Do List & define your deadlines: tasks with details & deadlines (Remember about the Parkinson’s law).
- Set yourself time-bound goals: keep you on track to achieve your goals.
- Do one task at a time: avoid the habit of multitasking.
- Tackle the hardest tasks/subjects at your peak times within the time frame: boosts your confidence and make you extra productive in completing the upcoming tasks.
- Ask someone to check up on you: peer pressure works!
- Schedule regular & guilt-free breaks: guilt-free breaks for about 15 minutes & Take protein-rich snacks (avoid too much of sugars) & move around/stretch in order to warm up.
How to cope up when you procrastinate during the FMGE Preparation?
- Take a guilt-free break of no more than 20 minutes of your favorite delaying tactics.
- The trick of shuffling: spend 20 minutes with a comfortable subject that makes you feel secure → then shuffle to a challenging material (Once you’re in the groove, you are ready to begin to tackle the more challenging material).
- Two-minute task method: push yourself for 2 minutes for beginning the reading then you will find yourself completing the topic.
- Promise yourself a reward after completing the task successfully: a slice of cake or a coffee from your favorite coffee shop.
- Procrastination – 7 Steps to Cure on the Youtube Channel Med School Insiders:
- Inside the mind of a master procrastinator on TED:
- Blunt, A., & Pychyl, T.A. (1998). Volitional action and inaction in the lives of undergraduate students: State orientation, boredom and procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences, 24(6), 837-846.
- Schlüter, C., Fraenz, C., Pinnow, M., Friedrich, P., Güntürkün, O., & Genç E.(2018). The Structural and Functional Signature of Action Control, Psychological Science, 1-11. DOI: 10.1177/0956797618779380https
- 3. Zhang, S., Liu, P., & Feng, T. (2019). To do it now or later: The cognitive mechanisms and neural substrates underlying procrastination. WIREs Cognitive Science, 10(4), 1–20. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1492
- Schlüter et al (2018). The Structural and Functional Signature of Action Control, Psychological Science, 1-11. “Individuals who are state-oriented when it comes to initiating actions and therefore tend to hesitate or procrastinate show higher amygdala volume” (p. 5).
- The term “amygdala hijack” was initially coined by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
- Sirois, Fuschia & A. Pychyl, Timothy. (2013). Procrastination and the Priority of Short-Term Mood Regulation: Consequences for Future Self. Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 7. 115–127.
- Hershfield, Hal. (2011). Future self-continuity: How conceptions of the future self transform intertemporal choice. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1235. 30-43.