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Introduction

“When I photographed the Products of Design Masters Thesis presentations last year. I wondered if I would be anxious on stage when it was my turn. Thinking back to the all-nighters and the last minute work during the year, I decided that I needed to overcome my procrastination. I knew the only way I could do this was to literally make it my thesis topic.”

With this thesis, I am not only challenging myself but also the general public.

In 2007, estimates of procrastination in college students ran as high as 75 percent. In the general population, chronic procrastination affects 25% of adults. The U.S government makes $500 million a year from people who procrastinate on doing their taxes.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. Unlike the truly slothful, procrastinators want to do what they need to do and usually do get around to it, but not without a lot of struggle.

Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt which lead to further procrastination.

Neuroscientific research shows that when people procrastinate, the unconscious brain (the limbic system) has an argument with the planner brain (the prefrontal cortex). And usually, the limbic system wins.

If we find something to be unsatisfying, our brain immediately steps in to distract us with something more pleasant.

Procrastination is an extensive topic, the full scope of which this thesis cannot address. After several months of compiling information from interviews, literature reviews, therapy, workshops, I have narrowed my focus to the moment when people notice they are procrastinating and have decided they are willing to change.

The above image presents the chronic procrastinators' work flow. They avoid things that need to be done. Their anxiety and stress affect on their decision making moments which lead to bad consequences.

It is difficult to change how people operate and it is even harder to prevent “reformed” procrastinators from relapsing. The focus of my work was to understand the chronic tendency and then to interventions that would change the direction of decision-making moments from putting off to taking care of immediately.