Why Your Brain Tricks You Into Doing Less Important Tasks – The New York Times

By Tim Herrera
July 9, 2018

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 important as writing this newsletter. I know I needed to get this done, but the call of those minor-yet-urgent tasks was too strong.

To all of my procrastinators out there, I offer an explanation: Your brain is working against you, and it’s because of a phenomenon called the urgency effect.

“Picture a 2×2 square with four boxes. At the top of the square are two labels: Urgent and non-urgent. On the left are two other labels: Importantand not important.

Here’s a visual (thanks to James Clear, a friend of Smarter Living).”

via Why Your Brain Tricks You Into Doing Less Important Tasks – The New York Times

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