Master Procrastinator: Lessons from Tim Urban’s TED Talk

Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | TED
Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | TED


Since its release, Tim Urban’s widely acclaimed TED Talk, “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” has successfully captivated millions of viewers. Throughout the talk, Urban not only humorously dissects the mind of a procrastinator, but also provides invaluable insights into conquering this pervasive struggle.

Lessons Learned and Recommendation for Others

Consequently, this article aims to not only summarize his key findings, but also delve into the lessons we can extract from them, and elucidate the reasons why this TED Talk merits recommendation to others.

Key Findings from Tim Urban’s TED Talk

  • The Procrastinator’s Mind: Urban identifies three key players in the mind of a procrastinator – the Rational Decision-Maker, the Instant Gratification Monkey, and the Panic Monster. The Rational Decision-Maker is responsible for making sound decisions, while the Instant Gratification Monkey seeks immediate pleasure, often leading to procrastination. The Panic Monster only appears when deadlines approach, causing a sense of urgency that forces the procrastinator to finally take action.
  • Deadline-based vs. Non-deadline-based Procrastination: Urban highlights two types of procrastination – deadline-based and non-deadline-based. Deadline-based procrastination, although stressful, is manageable since the Panic Monster eventually forces action. Non-deadline-based procrastination, on the other hand, can lead to long-term unhappiness and regrets, as there is no Panic Monster to prompt action.

Insights and Lessons from Tim Urban’s TED Talk

  1. Identify the players: First and foremost, identify the Rational Decision-Maker, Instant Gratification Monkey, and Panic Monster residing within you. Gaining awareness of these intrinsic elements will, in turn, assist you in more effectively comprehending and controlling your tendencies to procrastinate.
  2. Embrace the Panic Monster: Use deadlines and time constraints to your advantage. Creating deadlines, even for non-deadline-based tasks, can trigger the Panic Monster and inspire action.
  3. Create healthy habits: Develop habits and routines that prioritize long-term goals over instant gratification. By consistently focusing on what truly matters, you can gradually reduce the power of the Instant Gratification Monkey.
  4. Be mindful of the “Life Calendar”: Visualize your life as a finite series of weeks, and consider how you want to spend that time. This perspective can help you prioritize important tasks and avoid procrastination.

Why Recommend Tim Urban’s TED Talk

Urban’s TED Talk is a must-watch because it:

  • Provides an entertaining and relatable explanation of procrastination
  • Offers practical insights and strategies to help overcome procrastination
  • Encourages viewers to reflect on their priorities and make conscious decisions about how they spend their time


Tim Urban’s TED Talk is an essential resource for anyone struggling with procrastination or seeking better time management. By understanding the procrastinator’s mind, embracing the Panic Monster, and focusing on long-term goals, we can take control of our lives. This approach helps us make meaningful progress towards achieving our dreams. Hence, by sharing this TED Talk with others, we can collectively disseminate the potent lessons it encompasses.


YouTube Video – Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | TED

Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | TED

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