One of my business classes had an assignment about procrastination. My teacher, the wonderful Jen Murphy, gave us a link to a TED Talk: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator. Tim Urban was the man who did this talk and he runs a very popular writing blog called “Wait but Why”. His blog covers many things, one of them being procrastination, which invited him to give the TED Talk.

    Urban was once a college student and like many of us, he struggled with deadlines. At the beginning of the talk, he tells us how he tended to procrastinate his papers. Let’s say he was assigned a paper two weeks before the deadline. Well, most people think that if they put in a little every day, maybe skipping the busy days, the paper will be done well by the due date. Yet, we all know how that really turns out. You might set up a schedule, but it is likely you will be doing most of the work the night before. Tim Urban also had this problem. His went as far as procrastinating a 90-page thesis paper! A paper he had a year to complete, but only started the assignment three days before it was due.  

    That is, hopefully, an uncommon level of procrastination. Yet, procrastinating assignments, studying, and chores are something we all do. Tim Urban went as far as to say “I don't think non-procrastinators exist. That's right -- I think all of you are procrastinators” (Tim Urban, TED2016, 12:36).  When you really think about it, this makes sense. While a lot of people don’t procrastinate final papers and senior year projects, there are plenty of small things that we do procrastinate. For example, I procrastinated this article. I should’ve started writing it five hours ago, but here I am at 1:00 a.m. writing so I don’t procrastinate it any longer. I can assume a lot of readers are avoiding some class assignment, but selfishly I am glad you’re here instead.

    Now, don’t think this is a TED Talk on how procrastination is bad and the three-step process to fix it. That is not what it is.  t is an amusing video on how rational-decision makers can sometimes be led astray by the self-gratification monkey in our heads. I’m serious, Tim Urban explained procrastination with a self-gratification monkey, the rational-decision maker, and the panic monster. If you don’t understand what that means, I recommend watching the video.

TED Talk:

Urban, T. (2018, February). Inside the mind of a master procrastinator. Retrieved September 11, 2018, from

Quote at 12:36.