Thursday 17 July 2014

Working in Montréal today --Dopamine and why your dog ate your homework

Good morning folks,

As promised, I will be working in Montréal today.  Shout out to Kim, likely won't be in this morning bright and early, I know she was making DNS changes late last night for some converting hosting customers.  Although she may surprise me and be sitting at her desk when I do my 11th floor tour.

This morning I saw an article on procrastination from the University of Colorado at Boulder that looked interesting, but I figured there was time to read it later.


That's right kids, another episode of 'You and your Brain'.

Ever wonder why you put things off like going to bed, even though it's 3/4 past midnight and you have to get up at 6 AM for a flight to Montréal but these Financials look so damned interesting? 

um..  Uncle Daniel, aren't Financials so boring, they are the things that the snore sounds are made of?   Yes, they are, and please don't end sentences with prepositions.

Or how about in Psych class when that lab work on the Efficacy of Physical Torture on Mitigating Feelings of Resentment in Persons Suffering Delusions of Persecution was due, you still continued to play Donkey Kong?  (And No, surprisingly, it is not very effective).

The reason we put things off is due to the way that our Prefrontal Cortex processes information and the effects of dopamine on our brains.  When we do enjoyable things, we get a small doses of dopamine run through our brain, not only giving us a feel good feeling, but it actually changes the neuron connections making the behaviour more likely to be repeated.

When we allow our decision making process to run on auto-pilot, we allow it to make decisions that may not be in our best long term benefit.  When we consciously examine the information, time constraints, sleep requirements, consequences of our decisions, then we still may procrastinate, but have then really no one to blame but ourselves.  Although many have blamed their dog for eating their homework.

I did read enough of the article to see that the researchers suggested that persons that procrastinate may be predisposed to also be impulsive and distracted by things --Squirrel!

Hmmmm?  Oh yes, but I suggest that the problem may be often related to time perception that doesn't quite jive with reality, that is, often it may seem like there is an abundance time available for all tasks, bit there simply is not.

Either way, I read the Financials wrote a reply but did not send (I write many emails that I do not send, it's very cathartic), posted my submissions for a management meeting today, wrote an email to a customer, one to a supplier, one to a staff member, got some sleep, and here I am.

Although prior to finishing this last sentence was distracted by the checkered shirt worn by the guy in 1C, it reminded me of a tablecloth we had when I was a kid. That or the seat cover my neighbour had on his '73 Vega.

Ok, Pulp is done.

Have a great day.  Now go finish that report.

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