Procrastination is the habit of putting off the things we should do, getting caught up in less important tasks or even deliberately spending our time on things that we force ourselves to believe are more peremptory.
But this defect is not only found in humans, but other animals .
James Mazur , a Harvard trained psychologist, has managed to indirectly demonstrate procrastination in animals, specifically pigeons: he trained a group of them for two different work schedules and gave them the possibility to choose the one they preferred.
Both were awarded a treat after the same period, but the first one started with a little work and came after a long delay, while the second started with a long delay and ended with much more work (up to four times more). .
Basically, the pigeons had to choose between working a little first, then resting, or taking it easy first, then facing harder work .
We already know what most of us would do, but curiously the pigeons also opted for the same strategy, as Piers Steel explains in his book Procrastination :
They postponed the afternoon despite the fact that much more arduous work awaited them to finally obtain the reward. (…) The birds leave it until later to do it and even the zoo chimpanzees leave it until later.
When it comes to procrastination, then, almost all animals are cut by the same pattern.