The Akrasia Effect: Why We Don’t Follow Through on What We Set Out to Do

Akrasia. If that sounds like Greek to you, well, that’s because it is.

In short, Akrasia is the act of procrastinating against your better judgement and this week, we’re going to show you why people procrastinate:


Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia. Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control.

One explanation for why akrasia rules our lives and procrastination pulls us in has to do with a behavioral economics term called “time inconsistency.” Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

When you make plans for yourself — like setting a goal to lose weight or write a book or learn a language — you are actually making plans for your future self. When the time comes to make a decision, however, you are no longer making a choice for your future self. Now you are in the moment and your brain is thinking about the present self. And researchers have discovered that the present self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff.

Understanding how to resist the pull of instant gratification—at least occasionally, if not consistently—can help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.


Next week we’ll show you how you can beat procrastination and meet your goals!

We got this from the veritable productivity guru, James Clear, you can visit his webpage for more like this and beyond.

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