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Let's get this out of the way: I'm a procrastinator. It's likely you are too.

There's nothing I enjoy more than writing — OK, sleeping is a close second — but when I open a new Word document to type out a story, I immediately begin to think about things that I would much rather be doing right now. You know, like washing every dish in the house or seeing just how many YouTube videos I can watch in an hour.

Don't worry, we're not alone:


If you need more evidence that so many of us (20% of people worldwide are "true procrastinators") are putting off the things we could be doing until tomorrow — "a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation, and achievement is stored" — you need to check out this video that's going viral.

It's a lecture by professor and procrastination researcher Timothy Pychyl. The video was originally shot in 2012, but you won't be surprised to learn that not much has changed for all us procrastinators out there.

Check it out if you're looking to understand and change some of your procrastination behaviors.

Ah, you've scrolled past the video, just as I suspected you would. My guess is that your first thought was "This video is 58 minutes long!" and your second thought was "I'll definitely watch this over the weekend." Or maybe, like one Redditor, you've saved it to watch at 3 a.m. when "all other options have been exhausted."

You know how I know? I've done this, too. So how do you break the cycle? And why should breaking it even matter? Well, here are five procrastination facts to seriously convince you to change your habits, gleaned from personal experience and boiled down from those 58 minutes I watched on your behalf.

1. Procrastination isn’t ever actually fun.

Think back to the last time you procrastinated. Did you have a good time? Maybe a little, because it feels good to give in to avoiding something — at least at first. It's probable, though, as you watched a movie or baked cookies or scrolled social media and checked your email for the umpteenth time that you also felt guilty. And that's because you know you were putting off something that could have and should have been done right now.

And if we're being really honest, Pychyl points out in the video, behaviors we perform while procrastinating are often "moral in nature" — like cooking and cleaning. It's a way of assuaging some of our guilt for choosing to leave the taxes for another day (even though the deadline is looming).

[rebelmouse-image 19534281 dam="1" original_size="500x359" caption="GIF from "SpongeBob SquarePants."" expand=1]GIF from "SpongeBob SquarePants."

As my thesis advisor once told me as I made another excuse for not having a part of my draft finished, "You're turning a little discomfort now into a lot of suffering later." She was right.

Sure, my house had never been cleaner (to the delight of my husband), but I also had to suffer the pain of writing a 40-page paper in less than two weeks. Not something I  recommend.

2. Procrastination can have devastating effects.

One lie we tell ourselves when we procrastinate, Pychyl says, is that we do much better under pressure. Of course, that's not at all true. In the video, Pychyl says that those who procrastinate tend to make more errors. And that leads to poorer quality work. (Research supports this.)

That's not all, though. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but new findings show that chronic procrastination can lead to a host of health problems because putting important things off causes stress, making you vulnerable to headaches, insomnia, and even hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

[rebelmouse-image 19534283 dam="1" original_size="480x366" caption="GIF from "The Simpsons."" expand=1]GIF from "The Simpsons."

People who procrastinate, Pychyl warns, also have a harder time eating well, exercising, and taking care of themselves otherwise. That's because, as he puts it, procrastination isn't a time-management issue (so that planner isn't going to help you on its own) but an existential one. You procrastinate to (unconsciously) avoid getting on with life.

3. Before you stop procrastinating, you have to realize you won't accomplish this goal overnight.

If you've ever tried to achieve a goal — or several — at one time, you know what happens. You'll start off strong, promising yourself that this is when you'll really start kicking butt and taking names. And suddenly you're exhausted and don't know if you have the strength to carry on.

That's actually not uncommon. While most of us view self-control as limitless, the reality is that it's more like a muscle — building it up takes time and effort. You're going to have to break your goal up into bite-sized pieces instead of viewing them as huge obstacles.

Whenever I'm getting ready to procrastinate (*cough* as soon as I was assigned this post *cough*), I'm reminded of this quote by Mark Twain:

"If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first."

What that boils down to (because boiling frogs is the healthiest way to eat them), is that if you know you've got something to do, try to do it as soon as possible so that it's over with. And do the part you're least interested in first.

[rebelmouse-image 19534284 dam="1" original_size="480x270" caption="GIF from The Lonely Island/NBC." expand=1]GIF from The Lonely Island/NBC.

Here's another tip, this one from author James Clear: "If it takes less than two minutes, do it now." More on that:

"Want to become a better writer? Just write one sentence (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll often find yourself writing for an hour."

"Want to run three times a week? Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, just get your running shoes on and get out the door (2–Minute Rule), and you’ll end up putting mileage on your legs instead of popcorn in your stomach."

4. Just the fact that you spent two minutes reading this piece means you're on the way to ending your procrastination.

That wasn't so bad, was it? Let's take a moment to mark this monumental occasion with this video of a dog riding a skateboard (a perfectly beautiful and natural thing for dogs to do).

Now back to the important stuff:

As you practice not putting things off, you build up your belief in yourself. And that belief translates to a change in your habits and identity. The catch, though, is that you can't go too fast, and you can't put off the small steps until tomorrow or next week or the first of the month.

You've got to start taking care of what you've been putting off now. Stop and think what you can accomplish in a few minutes. Just start. Don't think about it.

5. The most important step? Something called "implementation intention."

You know what's on your to-do list because it's keeping you up at night. You promise yourself you'll get it done first thing tomorrow, but another day has come and gone, and you're still stuck in the same place. That's not because you're lazy but because, as Pychyl says, procrastination is "the gap between intention and action."

Let's make that even simpler: The problem isn't that you don't know what to do, it's that you don't know how to do it. The items on your list — even ones like "clean the house" or "get back to people" — are big and vague enough that you don't know where to get started.

In the video, Pychyl says that when he asks a grad student what they're working on and they say "my thesis," he knows that they're not getting any work done. Wasn't the same true for you when you said "I'll do my homework" rather than saying "I'll do the problems I have for math followed by the paper I've got for English"?

Implementation intention, based on the work of researcher and New York University professor Peter Gollwitzer, is the idea is that you break goals down into the following formula: "In situation X, I will do behavior Y to achieve subgoal Z." You give yourself concrete plans that don't just include an intention but a clear plan for your action.

[rebelmouse-image 19534285 dam="1" original_size="480x260" caption="GIF from "Home Alone."" expand=1]GIF from "Home Alone."

That turns "I'll definitely clean the entire house on Sunday" to "On Sunday morning, I'll do my dishes and mop the floor so that my kitchen is clean."

It's really as simple as that (and research shows that it works).

And if you find that you don't feel like it? Well, Pychyl knows that you won't. But learning to regulate your emotions is an important part of learning not to procrastinate.

"When I ask my children about feeding the fish, dogs, or horses (or any other chore, including homework), and they say, 'I don’t feel like, I don’t want to,' my typical response is, 'I didn’t ask you how you felt or what you want to do. I asked you about that action,'" Pychyl writes in a blog post.

In short, recognize that "'I don't feel like it' is not a reason, it's an excuse."

As the saying goes, "You have to kiss a few frogs..."

Dating has certainly evolved over the years—we’ve gone from courtship being purely a financial arrangement (not that this trend has ever truly died) to knights jousting for a lady’s favor, to casual hookups … and now, romance is primarily found through an app more than anything else.

Technology used for meeting that special someone has become so advanced that you can base your search entirely upon specific interests. Like … oddly specific interests. Think a fellow cat person would be the purrfect match? There’s an app for that. Wish to “love long and prosper” with a fellow Trekkie? There’s an app for that too.

No matter the changes, one thing remains the same—dating is awkward. It’s got all the unspoken formalities of a job interview, disguised as innocent fun. The balance between playing it too cool and too eager is hard to find even for the smoothest among us, and usually results in total embarrassment. Even if we aren’t the ones committing those embarrassing acts ourselves, we are often the reluctant witness to them.

Terrible dates might not always be fun in the moment, but they can be just as important as the good ones. They can teach us a lot about ourselves and what qualities we want in a partner. And at the very least, they can teach us to embrace social clumsiness with a sense of humor.

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share a “funny or embarrassing first date story” for his ever popular #Hashtags segment. The best part—some of these awful first dates ended in marriage. There’s hope for us all.

Below, find 15 stories that are truly the the best of the worst. How do some of your first dates compare?

1. "After a nice dinner, she invited me to her house. On the way up, inside the elevator, I decided to push the button to stop between floors and give her a kiss... She had a phobia of closed spaces and she smacked my face as a reflex, two punches after we were kissing and laughing.” – @PanqueAlgarvio

2. “His jeans were so tight he couldn’t sit down. Stood at a bar stool the whole time.” – @onlyintheozarks

3. “Waiting 4 my date when an older couple asked me for a ride. my date came up and said sure! We drove them home & they asked us to come in. Date said “sure”. I pulled him back & asked why he wanted to hang w/strangers. He said ‘sh@t! YOU DON'T KNOW THEM!?’ We bolted!” – @natashaham75

facebook dating

Talk about a fashion faux pas.

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4. “Before the date, we had been chatting about books we liked and I talked about a great book I just read. We went on the date. I loaned her the book. She ghosted me.” – @thenextbarstool

5. “The worst first date I ever had was when my date locked his keys in the car and I had a curfew so he had to break his car window out to get me home on time. Didn’t think I’d ever see him again but we wound up married.” – @csleblan

6. “First date movie ‘Basic Instinct’ not realizing how suggestive it was. We just thought it was a mystery thriller! We left the movie discussing how each character could have actually murdered someone. We're married now.” – @Southrnbell_Amy

black people meet

There are worse first date movies tbh.

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7. “First date with my ex husband was a double date with his parents. The preview for ‘Speed Racer’ came on, and she leaned over me to say to her son, ‘You know what your dad's nickname in the bedroom is?’" – @theostoria

8. “A friend asked me on a double date as a blind date with his date's friend. I went to the bathroom and came back just in time to hear my date say to her friend, ‘why do I get the ugly one?’ I said good night to all three and headed home, leaving her w/the bill.” – @StevenTrustum

9. “He loved cheese. I was subjected to a 2 hour conversation/lecture about cheese, and why cottage cheese is not cheese!” – @Optimist_Eeyore

bumble

I'd like to see this two-hour cheese lecture.

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10. “He took me to an Asian fish market. We walked around looking at live & dead fish for a while. I don’t like seeing dead animals & I don’t eat seafood. Then we sat on a curb & he pulled out a ziplock bag of pineapple for us to share. I don’t like pineapple.” – @markayhali

11. “My cousin set up a first date for me with a family friend. During a break from dinner, Mr. Man follows me into the ladies’ room, comes up close and says in a low voice, ‘I shave my butt.’ Can’t remember what I said in response but the evening ended abruptly.” – @carli_zarzana

12. “I once took out my high school crush to a sports bar and ordered the spiciest wings there in an attempt to impress her. Not only was she not impressed. The next morning I woke up with heartburn.” –@Dmonster38

tindr conversation starters

Talk about a hot date.

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13. “My date showed up with his bestie and girlfriend, and they talked through dinner about people I don’t know. Walking to the car, he gave me a wedgie because he thought he hadn’t been paying enough attention to me.” – @surrealDazey


14. “I was taking my date home and was pulled over by the police for speeding. When the cop came to my car, she jumped out and told him she had to get home. She walked home and I never heard from her again. I'm not sure who's #WorstFirstDate it was mine or hers!” – @eastriverbear

15. “After an evening of dancing with a first date, leaving the dance hall, I had to take a quick pee break. Rushing out to the parking lot, I see a lady, I grab her and swoop her around, and plant a big wet kiss on the lips. She was another guy's wife. Oops!” – @seadogskamore

date you

Only Gomez could have gotten away with it.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Joy

Touching video shows a deputy sheriff teaching a stalled teen how to drive a stick shift

“I asked her if I could help assist her. So I kinda went through the steps of helping her out.”

via Cleveland County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Kendrae Traylor helps a stalled motorist.

Just like rotary phones, shopping malls and popcorn you heat on the stove, stick shifts (or manual transmissions as the pros call ’em) may soon be a thing of the past. A report in The Atlantic shows that in the year 2000, manual transmissions accounted for 15% of the new and used cars sold by Carmax.

In 2020, that figure dropped to just 2.4%.

The sad thing is that countless people will never experience the pleasure of driving a manual transmission. There’s something to be said about the feeling of actually driving and controlling a vehicle with a stick shift. It's a sensation you can’t get behind the wheel of an automatic.

Manual cars are also cheaper, less likely to be stolen and have lower maintenance costs.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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