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  • 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:

  1. 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.
Parkinson’s Law
  • Cyril Northcote Parkinson stated that “Work can be stretched like rubber to fill the time available to it”
  • The time available to complete a task is always completely consumed for example a task that to be completed in a month can be extended over 3 months (Completing the thesis).
  1. Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future.
  2. Perfect frame trap: Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind or time to work on the FMGE Preparation.
  3. The misconception of the best output under pressure.
  4. 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?

  1. Recognize procrastination techniques (time-wasting activities) & Work out on why you’re procrastinating?
  2. 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).
  3. Prioritize your To-Do List & define your deadlines: tasks with details & deadlines (Remember about the Parkinson’s law).
  4. Set yourself time-bound goals: keep you on track to achieve your goals.
  5. Do one task at a time: avoid the habit of multitasking.
  6. 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.
  7. Ask someone to check up on you: peer pressure works!
  8. 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?

  1. Take a guilt-free break of no more than 20 minutes of your favorite delaying tactics.
  2. 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).
  3. Two-minute task method: push yourself for 2 minutes for beginning the reading then you will find yourself completing the topic.
  4. Promise yourself a reward after completing the task successfully:  a slice of cake or a coffee from your favorite coffee shop.

Also Read:

  1. How to Stay Focused during FMGE preparation?
  2. The Best Time Manage Tips during FMGE Preparation?

Also Watch:

  • Procrastination – 7 Steps to Cure on the Youtube Channel Med School Insiders:

  • Inside the mind of a master procrastinator on TED:

References:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 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
  4. 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).
  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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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