The Atlantic

The Mechanics of Preventing Procrastination

A new study finds that thinking about far-off events in terms of days, rather than years, makes people get started sooner.
Source: David Gray / Reuters

Procrastination is, in essence, stealing from yourself. The reason goals are so hard to reach, many psychologists think, is because each person believes they are really two people: Present Me and Future Me. And to most people, Future Me is less important than Present Me. Present Me is the CEO of Me Corp, while Future Me is a lowly clerk.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Genre-Defying Singer Inspired by Japanese Funk
Berhana, the Atlanta musician behind 2016’s “Janet,” talks about incorporating diverse geographic influences in his debut album, HAN.
The Atlantic8 min readPolitics
The Liberation of Mitt Romney
The newly rebellious senator has become an outspoken dissident in Trump’s Republican Party, just in time for the president’s impeachment trial.
The Atlantic4 min read
I Found Myself in The Matrix
How many times is too many times to see a movie in movie theaters? This question has trailed me through adulthood. When I was a teenager, I paid $7.50 or so for the privilege of watching The Matrix not just three or four times, but 11. My colleagues