Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator | Tim Urban | TED

TED
6 Apr 201614:04

Summary

TLDRThe speaker humorously shares his experience as a procrastinator, highlighting the struggle between the Rational Decision-Maker and the Instant Gratification Monkey in the brain. He explains how procrastinators rely on the Panic Monster to trigger action when deadlines approach. However, he warns of the dangers of long-term procrastination without deadlines, urging everyone to confront their procrastination and seize the limited time in life, symbolized by a 90-year Life Calendar.

Takeaways

  • 📚 The speaker was a government major in college and had to write many papers, which led to understanding procrastination.
  • 📈 Procrastinators often plan to space out their work evenly, but end up rushing at the last minute.
  • 🎓 The speaker's experience with a 90-page senior thesis highlighted the inadequacy of their usual procrastination strategy for large projects.
  • 🚪 The speaker hypothesized that procrastinators have different brain structures and compared their brain to a non-procrastinator's using MRI.
  • 🧠 Both the procrastinator's and non-procrastinator's brains have a Rational Decision-Maker, but the procrastinator's brain also includes an Instant Gratification Monkey.
  • 🐒 The Instant Gratification Monkey lives in the present, focusing on easy and fun activities, often hijacking the Rational Decision-Maker's plans.
  • 🌪️ The Panic Monster is a force in the procrastinator's brain that wakes up when deadlines are near or in cases of potential public embarrassment or career disaster.
  • 💡 The Panic Monster is the only thing the Instant Gratification Monkey fears, and its presence can force the Monkey to let the Rational Decision-Maker take control.
  • 📆 There are two types of procrastination: deadline-based and the more insidious long-term kind without deadlines, which can lead to significant life regrets.
  • 🚶 The speaker suggests that everyone procrastinates to some extent and that awareness of our tendencies is crucial for effective time management and achieving life goals.
  • 📅 The 'Life Calendar' visualization helps to put our time and procrastination into perspective, emphasizing the importance of starting to address our procrastination today.

Q & A

  • What was the speaker's major in college?

    -The speaker was a government major in college.

  • How did the speaker typically approach writing papers during college?

    -The speaker initially planned to spread the work out evenly over time but often ended up procrastinating and completing the work in a rush near the deadline.

  • What was the speaker's strategy for tackling the 90-page senior thesis?

    -The speaker planned to start off light, increase the workload in the middle months, and then kick it up into high gear towards the end, following a staircase pattern.

  • What happened to the speaker's planned approach for the senior thesis?

    -The speaker struggled to follow the planned approach and ended up writing the entire 90-page thesis in 72 hours, pulling two all-nighters just before the deadline.

  • What was the outcome of the speaker's senior thesis?

    -The thesis was of very poor quality, contrary to the humorous scenario the speaker painted where it was the best one the school had ever seen.

  • What is the speaker's current profession?

    -The speaker is a writer-blogger, running a blog called Wait But Why.

  • What was the speaker's hypothesis about procrastinators?

    -The speaker hypothesized that the brains of procrastinators are different from those of non-procrastinators.

  • What did the MRI comparison of the speaker's brain with a non-procrastinator's brain reveal?

    -Both brains had a Rational Decision-Maker, but the procrastinator's brain also had an Instant Gratification Monkey that interfered with productive actions.

  • How does the Instant Gratification Monkey affect procrastinators?

    -The Instant Gratification Monkey lives in the present moment, with no memory of the past or knowledge of the future, seeking only easy and fun activities which leads to procrastination.

  • What is the role of the Panic Monster in the procrastinator's system?

    -The Panic Monster is dormant most of the time but wakes up when a deadline is near or there's a threat of public embarrassment or severe consequences, pushing the procrastinator to take action.

  • What are the two kinds of procrastination mentioned in the script?

    -The two kinds of procrastination are the short-term kind with deadlines where the Panic Monster can intervene, and the long-term kind without deadlines where the procrastinator's life can be significantly impacted.

  • What advice does the speaker give at the end regarding procrastination?

    -The speaker advises everyone to be aware of their Instant Gratification Monkey and to start addressing their procrastination sooner rather than later, as procrastination can lead to long-term unhappiness and regrets.

Outlines

00:00

📚 College Life and Procrastination

The speaker shares his experience as a government major in college, highlighting the common procrastination pattern of spreading out work over time with heavier days later. He contrasts this with his approach to writing a 90-page senior thesis, which required a different strategy due to its size. Initially, he planned a gradual increase in work, but ended up cramming all the work in the last few days, pulling all-nighters to complete it. The humorous anecdote about his thesis being the best one ever seen was a joke, revealing that it was actually a very poor thesis.

05:03

🧠 The Brain of a Procrastinator

The speaker, now a writer-blogger, discusses his curiosity about procrastination and the hypothesis that procrastinators have different brain structures. He shares his experience of having his brain and a non-procrastinator's brain scanned and compared. The key difference was the presence of an Instant Gratification Monkey in the procrastinator's brain, which interferes with the Rational Decision-Maker's plans. This Monkey lives in the present, seeking easy and fun activities, and disrupts productivity. The speaker explains the conflict between the Monkey and the Rational Decision-Maker, leading to procrastination, and introduces the Panic Monster, which is the procrastinator's guardian angel that triggers when deadlines are near or there's a threat of public embarrassment or other serious consequences.

10:06

🕒 Two Types of Procrastination

The speaker delves into the two types of procrastination: deadline-based and the less visible, long-term kind without deadlines. He shares the heavy impact of procrastination on people's lives, as expressed in emails from various professionals and students. The speaker explains that without deadlines, the Panic Monster doesn't activate, leading to uncontrolled procrastination that can cause significant long-term unhappiness and regret. He suggests that everyone is a procrastinator in some way, and it's crucial to be aware of the Instant Gratification Monkey's tricks, especially when deadlines are not present. The speaker introduces the concept of a 'Life Calendar' to visually represent the limited time we have and emphasizes the importance of addressing procrastination sooner rather than later.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks or actions, often leading to negative consequences. In the video, it is the central theme, illustrating the internal struggle between the Rational Decision-Maker and the Instant Gratification Monkey within the procrastinator's brain. The speaker humorously describes his own experiences with procrastination, particularly with writing papers and his senior thesis, to explain how it can lead to unproductive and stressful situations.

💡Rational Decision-Maker

The Rational Decision-Maker is a metaphorical character in the video representing the part of the brain that makes logical, future-oriented decisions. It is responsible for planning, setting goals, and prioritizing tasks. The speaker contrasts this character with the Instant Gratification Monkey, highlighting the internal conflict that procrastinators face when the Monkey takes control, leading to the avoidance of important tasks in favor of immediate pleasures.

💡Instant Gratification Monkey

The Instant Gratification Monkey is a key concept in the video, symbolizing the part of the brain that seeks immediate pleasure and avoids work or difficult tasks. This character is driven by the desire for easy and fun activities, with no regard for long-term consequences. The speaker uses this concept to explain why procrastinators often engage in unproductive behaviors, such as reading Wikipedia or watching YouTube videos, instead of working on their assignments.

💡Deadlines

Deadlines are specific dates or times by which a task or project must be completed. In the context of the video, deadlines play a crucial role in the procrastinator's behavior, as they trigger the Panic Monster, which forces the Instant Gratification Monkey to relinquish control. The speaker humorously describes how the fear of negative consequences associated with missed deadlines can motivate procrastinators to suddenly become highly productive just before the deadline.

💡Panic Monster

The Panic Monster is a metaphorical entity introduced in the video to represent the sudden, intense fear that arises when a procrastinator faces an imminent deadline or the risk of public embarrassment, career disaster, or other severe consequences. This character is the only thing that the Instant Gratification Monkey is afraid of, and its activation leads to a scramble to complete the procrastinated tasks, often resulting in a burst of productivity.

💡Dark Playground

The Dark Playground is a term used in the video to describe the mental space where procrastinators engage in leisure activities during times when they should be working. Despite the name, the activities in the Dark Playground are not genuinely enjoyable due to the overwhelming feelings of guilt, dread, anxiety, and self-hatred that accompany the procrastinator's actions. This concept illustrates the negative emotional impact of procrastination.

💡Life Calendar

The Life Calendar is a visual representation used by the speaker to illustrate the limited time each person has in life. It consists of a grid of boxes, each representing one week, over a hypothetical 90-year lifespan. The speaker encourages viewers to reflect on their procrastination habits by considering the limited number of boxes and to identify areas in which they might be procrastinating without even realizing it, such as personal relationships or health.

💡Non-deadline Procrastination

Non-deadline Procrastination refers to the type of procrastination that occurs in the absence of explicit deadlines. Unlike the deadline-based procrastination, which is often managed by the Panic Monster, this form of procrastination can lead to long-term consequences as there is no imminent threat to trigger action. The speaker discusses this concept to highlight the importance of self-motivation and discipline in areas of life that do not have clear external deadlines, such as career development or personal well-being.

💡Guardian Angel

In the video, the term 'guardian angel' is used metaphorically to describe the Panic Monster's role in the procrastinator's life. It serves as a protective force that steps in during times of crisis to prevent the procrastinator from facing severe consequences. This concept is used to emphasize the importance of recognizing and managing the procrastination habits before they lead to irreversible outcomes.

💡TED Talk

A TED Talk is a presentation that is part of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference, where experts from various fields share 'ideas worth spreading.' In the video, the speaker recounts his experience of being invited to give a TED Talk and how this significant event initially led to procrastination but ultimately activated the Panic Monster, enabling him to complete the task. The TED Talk serves as a narrative device to illustrate the procrastinator's system in action.

💡Self-starter

A self-starter is an individual who is capable of beginning tasks or projects independently, without the need for external motivation or supervision. In the video, the speaker mentions this term in the context of careers that require initiative, such as entrepreneurship or pursuing a career in the arts. The concept is used to highlight the challenges faced by procrastinators in situations where there are no external deadlines to spur them into action.

Highlights

The speaker was a government major in college and had to write a lot of papers.

Normal students tend to spread their work out over time, starting slow and increasing the pace as the deadline approaches.

The speaker usually tried to follow the same pattern as normal students but often found themselves procrastinating until the last minute.

The speaker's 90-page senior thesis required a different approach, as it was a much larger project that couldn't be tackled with their usual last-minute cramming.

The speaker planned a 'staircase' approach for the thesis, starting light, increasing workload in the middle months, and finishing with high intensity.

Despite the plan, the speaker struggled to start working on the thesis, and the early months passed without any progress.

With three days left before the deadline, the speaker wrote 90 pages in 72 hours, pulling two all-nighters.

The speaker humorously imagined a call from the school praising their thesis as the best one ever, but admitted that the thesis was actually very poor.

The speaker is now a writer-blogger and runs the blog Wait But Why, where they decided to write about procrastination.

The speaker hypothesized that procrastinators have different brains than non-procrastinators and had their brains scanned for comparison.

Both the speaker's and a non-procrastinator's brains have a Rational Decision-Maker, but the procrastinator's brain also has an Instant Gratification Monkey.

The Instant Gratification Monkey lives in the present, with no memory of the past or knowledge of the future, seeking only easy and fun activities.

The Rational Decision-Maker allows humans to visualize the future, see the big picture, and make long-term plans, often conflicting with the Monkey's desires.

The Dark Playground is a metaphor for the place where procrastinators spend their time on unproductive activities, filled with guilt and anxiety.

The Panic Monster is a guardian angel for procrastinators, waking up when deadlines are close or public embarrassment is imminent, making the Monkey flee.

The Panic Monster enables procrastinators to sometimes achieve high productivity at the last minute, but this is not a reliable system for long-term success.

There are two kinds of procrastination: one with deadlines that are contained by the Panic Monster, and one without deadlines that can lead to long-term unhappiness and regret.

The speaker suggests that non-procrastinators might not exist, and everyone has some form of procrastination, especially when it comes to tasks without deadlines.

The Life Calendar is a visual tool to represent the limited time we have, encouraging us to reflect on what we are procrastinating on and to take action.

Transcripts

play00:12

So in college,

play00:15

I was a government major,

play00:16

which means I had to write a lot of papers.

play00:19

Now, when a normal student writes a paper,

play00:21

they might spread the work out a little like this.

play00:23

So, you know --

play00:25

(Laughter)

play00:26

you get started maybe a little slowly,

play00:28

but you get enough done in the first week

play00:30

that, with some heavier days later on,

play00:32

everything gets done, things stay civil.

play00:34

(Laughter)

play00:35

And I would want to do that like that.

play00:38

That would be the plan.

play00:39

I would have it all ready to go,

play00:41

but then, actually, the paper would come along,

play00:44

and then I would kind of do this.

play00:46

(Laughter)

play00:48

And that would happen every single paper.

play00:51

But then came my 90-page senior thesis,

play00:55

a paper you're supposed to spend a year on.

play00:57

And I knew for a paper like that, my normal work flow was not an option.

play01:01

It was way too big a project.

play01:02

So I planned things out,

play01:04

and I decided I kind of had to go something like this.

play01:07

This is how the year would go.

play01:09

So I'd start off light,

play01:11

and I'd bump it up in the middle months,

play01:13

and then at the end, I would kick it up into high gear

play01:16

just like a little staircase.

play01:17

How hard could it be to walk up the stairs?

play01:20

No big deal, right?

play01:23

But then, the funniest thing happened.

play01:24

Those first few months?

play01:26

They came and went,

play01:27

and I couldn't quite do stuff.

play01:29

So we had an awesome new revised plan.

play01:31

(Laughter)

play01:32

And then --

play01:33

(Laughter)

play01:35

But then those middle months actually went by,

play01:38

and I didn't really write words,

play01:40

and so we were here.

play01:43

And then two months turned into one month,

play01:46

which turned into two weeks.

play01:47

And one day I woke up

play01:49

with three days until the deadline,

play01:53

still not having written a word,

play01:55

and so I did the only thing I could:

play01:57

I wrote 90 pages over 72 hours,

play02:00

pulling not one but two all-nighters --

play02:02

humans are not supposed to pull two all-nighters --

play02:06

sprinted across campus,

play02:08

dove in slow motion,

play02:09

and got it in just at the deadline.

play02:11

I thought that was the end of everything.

play02:14

But a week later I get a call,

play02:15

and it's the school.

play02:17

And they say, "Is this Tim Urban?"

play02:19

And I say, "Yeah."

play02:20

And they say, "We need to talk about your thesis."

play02:23

And I say, "OK."

play02:25

And they say,

play02:27

"It's the best one we've ever seen."

play02:29

(Laughter)

play02:32

(Applause)

play02:36

That did not happen.

play02:38

(Laughter)

play02:40

It was a very, very bad thesis.

play02:43

(Laughter)

play02:45

I just wanted to enjoy that one moment when all of you thought,

play02:49

"This guy is amazing!"

play02:51

(Laughter)

play02:52

No, no, it was very, very bad.

play02:55

Anyway, today I'm a writer-blogger guy.

play02:58

I write the blog Wait But Why.

play03:00

And a couple of years ago, I decided to write about procrastination.

play03:04

My behavior has always perplexed the non-procrastinators around me,

play03:07

and I wanted to explain to the non-procrastinators of the world

play03:11

what goes on in the heads of procrastinators,

play03:13

and why we are the way we are.

play03:14

Now, I had a hypothesis

play03:16

that the brains of procrastinators were actually different

play03:18

than the brains of other people.

play03:21

And to test this, I found an MRI lab

play03:23

that actually let me scan both my brain

play03:26

and the brain of a proven non-procrastinator,

play03:29

so I could compare them.

play03:30

I actually brought them here to show you today.

play03:32

I want you to take a look carefully to see if you can notice a difference.

play03:36

I know that if you're not a trained brain expert,

play03:38

it's not that obvious, but just take a look, OK?

play03:40

So here's the brain of a non-procrastinator.

play03:43

(Laughter)

play03:46

Now ...

play03:48

here's my brain.

play03:50

(Laughter)

play03:55

There is a difference.

play03:57

Both brains have a Rational Decision-Maker in them,

play04:00

but the procrastinator's brain

play04:01

also has an Instant Gratification Monkey.

play04:05

Now, what does this mean for the procrastinator?

play04:07

Well, it means everything's fine until this happens.

play04:09

[This is a perfect time to get some work done.] [Nope!]

play04:12

So the Rational Decision-Maker will make the rational decision

play04:15

to do something productive,

play04:17

but the Monkey doesn't like that plan,

play04:19

so he actually takes the wheel,

play04:20

and he says, "Actually, let's read the entire Wikipedia page

play04:23

of the Nancy Kerrigan/ Tonya Harding scandal,

play04:25

because I just remembered that that happened.

play04:28

(Laughter)

play04:29

Then --

play04:30

(Laughter)

play04:31

Then we're going to go over to the fridge,

play04:33

to see if there's anything new in there since 10 minutes ago.

play04:36

After that, we're going to go on a YouTube spiral

play04:39

that starts with videos of Richard Feynman talking about magnets

play04:42

and ends much, much later with us watching interviews

play04:45

with Justin Bieber's mom.

play04:47

(Laughter)

play04:49

"All of that's going to take a while,

play04:51

so we're not going to really have room on the schedule for any work today.

play04:54

Sorry!"

play04:55

(Sigh)

play04:58

Now, what is going on here?

play05:03

The Instant Gratification Monkey does not seem like a guy

play05:06

you want behind the wheel.

play05:07

He lives entirely in the present moment.

play05:09

He has no memory of the past, no knowledge of the future,

play05:12

and he only cares about two things:

play05:14

easy and fun.

play05:16

Now, in the animal world, that works fine.

play05:19

If you're a dog

play05:20

and you spend your whole life doing nothing other than easy and fun things,

play05:24

you're a huge success!

play05:25

(Laughter)

play05:27

And to the Monkey,

play05:29

humans are just another animal species.

play05:32

You have to keep well-slept, well-fed and propagating into the next generation,

play05:36

which in tribal times might have worked OK.

play05:38

But, if you haven't noticed, now we're not in tribal times.

play05:41

We're in an advanced civilization, and the Monkey does not know what that is.

play05:45

Which is why we have another guy in our brain,

play05:48

the Rational Decision-Maker,

play05:50

who gives us the ability to do things no other animal can do.

play05:53

We can visualize the future.

play05:55

We can see the big picture.

play05:57

We can make long-term plans.

play05:58

And he wants to take all of that into account.

play06:02

And he wants to just have us do

play06:03

whatever makes sense to be doing right now.

play06:06

Now, sometimes it makes sense

play06:08

to be doing things that are easy and fun,

play06:10

like when you're having dinner or going to bed

play06:12

or enjoying well-earned leisure time.

play06:14

That's why there's an overlap.

play06:15

Sometimes they agree.

play06:17

But other times, it makes much more sense

play06:20

to be doing things that are harder and less pleasant,

play06:24

for the sake of the big picture.

play06:25

And that's when we have a conflict.

play06:28

And for the procrastinator,

play06:29

that conflict tends to end a certain way every time,

play06:31

leaving him spending a lot of time in this orange zone,

play06:35

an easy and fun place that's entirely out of the Makes Sense circle.

play06:39

I call it the Dark Playground.

play06:42

(Laughter)

play06:43

Now, the Dark Playground is a place

play06:47

that all of you procrastinators out there know very well.

play06:50

It's where leisure activities happen

play06:52

at times when leisure activities are not supposed to be happening.

play06:56

The fun you have in the Dark Playground

play06:58

isn't actually fun, because it's completely unearned,

play07:00

and the air is filled with guilt, dread, anxiety, self-hatred --

play07:04

all of those good procrastinator feelings.

play07:06

And the question is, in this situation, with the Monkey behind the wheel,

play07:10

how does the procrastinator ever get himself over here to this blue zone,

play07:13

a less pleasant place, but where really important things happen?

play07:17

Well, turns out the procrastinator has a guardian angel,

play07:22

someone who's always looking down on him and watching over him

play07:25

in his darkest moments --

play07:26

someone called the Panic Monster.

play07:28

(Laughter)

play07:34

Now, the Panic Monster is dormant most of the time,

play07:39

but he suddenly wakes up anytime a deadline gets too close

play07:43

or there's danger of public embarrassment,

play07:45

a career disaster or some other scary consequence.

play07:47

And importantly, he's the only thing the Monkey is terrified of.

play07:51

Now, he became very relevant in my life pretty recently,

play07:56

because the people of TED reached out to me about six months ago

play07:59

and invited me to do a TED Talk.

play08:01

(Laughter)

play08:07

Now, of course, I said yes.

play08:08

It's always been a dream of mine to have done a TED Talk in the past.

play08:12

(Laughter)

play08:16

(Applause)

play08:24

But in the middle of all this excitement,

play08:26

the Rational Decision-Maker seemed to have something else on his mind.

play08:29

He was saying, "Are we clear on what we just accepted?

play08:32

Do we get what's going to be now happening one day in the future?

play08:35

We need to sit down and work on this right now."

play08:37

And the Monkey said, "Totally agree, but let's just open Google Earth

play08:40

and zoom in to the bottom of India, like 200 feet above the ground,

play08:44

and scroll up for two and a half hours til we get to the top of the country,

play08:47

so we can get a better feel for India."

play08:49

(Laughter)

play08:55

So that's what we did that day.

play08:56

(Laughter)

play09:00

As six months turned into four and then two and then one,

play09:04

the people of TED decided to release the speakers.

play09:07

And I opened up the website, and there was my face

play09:10

staring right back at me.

play09:11

And guess who woke up?

play09:13

(Laughter)

play09:17

So the Panic Monster starts losing his mind,

play09:19

and a few seconds later, the whole system's in mayhem.

play09:22

(Laughter)

play09:27

And the Monkey -- remember, he's terrified of the Panic Monster --

play09:30

boom, he's up the tree!

play09:31

And finally,

play09:32

finally, the Rational Decision-Maker can take the wheel

play09:35

and I can start working on the talk.

play09:37

Now, the Panic Monster explains

play09:39

all kinds of pretty insane procrastinator behavior,

play09:43

like how someone like me could spend two weeks

play09:45

unable to start the opening sentence of a paper,

play09:49

and then miraculously find the unbelievable work ethic

play09:52

to stay up all night and write eight pages.

play09:56

And this entire situation, with the three characters --

play09:59

this is the procrastinator's system.

play10:02

It's not pretty, but in the end, it works.

play10:05

This is what I decided to write about on the blog a couple of years ago.

play10:09

When I did, I was amazed by the response.

play10:12

Literally thousands of emails came in,

play10:14

from all different kinds of people from all over the world,

play10:17

doing all different kinds of things.

play10:19

These are people who were nurses, bankers, painters, engineers

play10:22

and lots and lots of PhD students.

play10:24

(Laughter)

play10:26

And they were all writing, saying the same thing:

play10:29

"I have this problem too."

play10:31

But what struck me was the contrast between the light tone of the post

play10:34

and the heaviness of these emails.

play10:36

These people were writing with intense frustration

play10:40

about what procrastination had done to their lives,

play10:42

about what this Monkey had done to them.

play10:46

And I thought about this, and I said,

play10:49

well, if the procrastinator's system works, then what's going on?

play10:53

Why are all of these people in such a dark place?

play10:55

Well, it turns out that there's two kinds of procrastination.

play10:59

Everything I've talked about today, the examples I've given,

play11:02

they all have deadlines.

play11:04

And when there's deadlines,

play11:05

the effects of procrastination are contained to the short term

play11:08

because the Panic Monster gets involved.

play11:10

But there's a second kind of procrastination

play11:12

that happens in situations when there is no deadline.

play11:14

So if you wanted a career where you're a self-starter --

play11:17

something in the arts, something entrepreneurial --

play11:19

there's no deadlines on those things at first, because nothing's happening,

play11:23

not until you've gone out and done the hard work

play11:25

to get momentum, get things going.

play11:27

There's also all kinds of important things outside of your career

play11:30

that don't involve any deadlines,

play11:32

like seeing your family or exercising and taking care of your health,

play11:35

working on your relationship

play11:36

or getting out of a relationship that isn't working.

play11:39

Now if the procrastinator's only mechanism of doing these hard things

play11:44

is the Panic Monster, that's a problem,

play11:46

because in all of these non-deadline situations,

play11:49

the Panic Monster doesn't show up.

play11:51

He has nothing to wake up for,

play11:52

so the effects of procrastination, they're not contained;

play11:55

they just extend outward forever.

play11:57

And it's this long-term kind of procrastination

play12:00

that's much less visible and much less talked about

play12:03

than the funnier, short-term deadline-based kind.

play12:06

It's usually suffered quietly and privately.

play12:10

And it can be the source

play12:11

of a huge amount of long-term unhappiness, and regrets.

play12:16

And I thought, that's why those people are emailing,

play12:19

and that's why they're in such a bad place.

play12:21

It's not that they're cramming for some project.

play12:24

It's that long-term procrastination has made them feel like a spectator,

play12:28

at times, in their own lives.

play12:30

The frustration is not that they couldn't achieve their dreams;

play12:33

it's that they weren't even able to start chasing them.

play12:36

So I read these emails and I had a little bit of an epiphany --

play12:42

that I don't think non-procrastinators exist.

play12:45

That's right -- I think all of you are procrastinators.

play12:49

Now, you might not all be a mess,

play12:51

like some of us,

play12:53

(Laughter)

play12:54

and some of you may have a healthy relationship with deadlines,

play12:58

but remember: the Monkey's sneakiest trick

play13:00

is when the deadlines aren't there.

play13:03

Now, I want to show you one last thing.

play13:05

I call this a Life Calendar.

play13:08

That's one box for every week of a 90-year life.

play13:13

That's not that many boxes,

play13:14

especially since we've already used a bunch of those.

play13:18

So I think we need to all take a long, hard look at that calendar.

play13:24

We need to think about what we're really procrastinating on,

play13:28

because everyone is procrastinating on something in life.

play13:32

We need to stay aware of the Instant Gratification Monkey.

play13:37

That's a job for all of us.

play13:40

And because there's not that many boxes on there,

play13:42

it's a job that should probably start today.

play13:45

Well, maybe not today, but ...

play13:48

(Laughter)

play13:49

You know.

play13:51

Sometime soon.

play13:53

Thank you.

play13:54

(Applause)

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Related Tags
ProcrastinationInstant GratificationRational Decision-MakerPanic MonsterTime ManagementPersonal DevelopmentHumorTED TalkLife Calendar