The New York Times

Why Your Brain Tricks You Into Doing Less Important Tasks

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Here’s a list of things I did before starting this newsletter: I filled out the documents to renew my passport; clipped my cat’s nails; bought some household items; responded to a few Instagram DMs; and ate a snack because I was hungry.

Sound familiar?

Some of those tasks were relatively urgent — I need to get my passport in order soon, and those Instagram DMs were weighing on me. But none of those tasks were as as writing this newsletter. I know I needed to

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

More from The New York Times

The New York Times7 min read
The Many Fears of Bill Hader
The “Barry” star is used to dealing privately with various dreads (like seeing himself act). Now he’s taking his terror onscreen, with “It Chapter Two.”
The New York Times4 min read
Should You Take Your Shoes Off at Home?
Maybe you kick off your shoes at home because you don’t want to track dirt across clean carpets or floors, or maybe it’s just a relief to shed them. Taking off shoes inside the home is also a common practice observed in Asian and Middle Eastern count
The New York Times6 min read
Clara Schumann, Music's Unsung Renaissance Woman
Schumann is among the most celebrated names in the classical music canon — for most people conjuring the poetic and intense work of Robert Schumann, the Romantic master. But when the Schumann in question is his wife, Clara, the name should remind us