We’ve all been there. Telling ourselves we were gonna do this, that or the other thing…RIGHT after we were done with whatever often less important thing we were doing in that moment. Finish (let’s be honest…start) our homework after watching one last episode of our favorite TV show. Go to the gym after playing that last game on our phone. Some of us even fight with ourselves to stop hitting the snooze button in the morning.
Why is it that so many of us are subconsciously setting ourselves up for stress-inducing situations where we panic and rush through whatever it is we need to finish? We all know we could lose our job for being late, yet so many of us give into the “five more minutes” temptation so often and cause ourselves to rush through our laundry list of morning activities: getting showered, getting dressed, getting our supplies together…some of us end up taking unnecessary driving risks…all for the sake of a few extra minutes of shuteye. It makes you wonder if the payoff is worth the hassle afterward.
So, is it simply a matter of laziness? Is humanity as a whole lacking discipline in getting things done and falling prey to losing track of time with meaningless activities? Or is there something deeper to it? Perhaps a reason that could explain why so many of us have trouble doing things that are blatantly important. Some behavioral scientists think there may be a genuine issue similar to the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” They believe there may be some underlying reason for our inability to retain important events for longer periods of time. It’s an interesting proposition, especially in an age where modern technology allows us to set up all sorts of reminders on almost every electronic device a person can own. But, put into practice, it seems like something that could make some headway. In their own experiment, they managed to cut the dropout rate of a single college by nearly half. That’s quite the social experiment, if you ask me.
So, is it selective memory? Some of us are able to remember birthdays or anniversaries with no issue at all, but remembering a dentist appointment is like pulling teeth (see what I did there?). Is it that we as humans are too set in daily routines to let random events take center stage, even if we would otherwise wish it of them? Or is it just that we don’t care enough, regardless of the consequences, unless it is put directly into our faces? That, in the end, some of us just aren’t driven enough to get that homework done even if it does mean we potentially fail the class? Personally, I would like a little more faith in humanity than that. But, on the same token, I’ve already broken almost every New Year’s resolution I made. So, I suppose I’ll just leave it up to the experts.