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Aug 6, 2019

Welcome to another special edition of The Writer Files called "The Writer's Brain," a guest series with neuroscientist Michael Grybko, and in this episode we dig into the dreaded procrastination – a malady we all battle – what it is, how science looks at it, the difference between constructive and destructive procrastination, and some tips on how to overcome it.

"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time." - Leonard Bernstein

We're all guilty of it, let's be honest, it's really normal to procrastinate.

Who among us hasn't waited until the last minute to do something tedious or uncomfortable like contest a speeding ticket, study for a test?

Today, you're far more likely to grab your smartphone and search longingly for those little red notification flags from a social media app, or to pop open a rainbow colored game for that quick hit of dopamine your brain loves so much.

I'm guilty of dusting and straightening every shelf and book in my office until they look conspicuously like modern art before I'll sit down to write an important email or a blog post.

The truth is that procrastination is built into the human condition -- clearly we can't do everything on our to-do lists at the same time -- but why has it become so frowned upon in our culture of late?

And how can we reframe procrastination since we know it's so integral to the creative process?

Luckily, research scientist Michael Grybko returned to the podcast to help me find some answers from the perspective of neuroscience.

Stay tuned ...

This episode of The Writer Files is brought to you by the team at Author Accelerator. Author Accelerator book coaches give writers feedback, accountability, and support while you write, so you can get that your idea out of your head and onto the page.



If you missed previous episodes of The Writer's Brain you can find them all in the show notes, in the archives at, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you tune in.

In Part One of this file Michael Grybko and I discuss:

  • The creative upside to "present bias" and delay
  • How neuroscience defines procrastination
  • Why writers often struggle with the bad kind
  • How your brain's emotional, stress, and impulse responses can derail your productivity
  • Why smartphones, shrinking attention spans, and "social acceleration" make it so hard to get meaningful work done
  • And helpful hints on how to get out of that wicked feedback loop and back on track

The Show Notes: