The New York Times

Why Your Brain Tricks You Into Doing Less Important Tasks

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Here’s a list of things I did before starting this newsletter: I filled out the documents to renew my passport; clipped my cat’s nails; bought some household items; responded to a few Instagram DMs; and ate a snack because I was hungry.

Sound familiar?

Some of those tasks were relatively urgent — I need to get my passport in order soon, and those Instagram DMs were weighing on me. But none of those tasks were as as writing this newsletter. I know I needed to

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times8 min read
36 Hours in Naples, Italy
A city of glorious but tattered beauty, known for its vibrancy and, yes, a frisson of menace, Naples is now humming with visitors. In this Mediterranean capital watched over by the still-kicking Vesuvius volcano, tourist numbers have more than double
The New York Times5 min readSociety
There Is No Single, Best Policy for Drug Prices
A majority of Americans prefer greater regulation of prescription drug prices, meaning government intervention to lower them. But don’t count on a single policy to address a nuanced problem. “All low-priced drugs are alike; all high-priced drugs are
The New York Times2 min read
A David Bowie Barbie: Mattel Unveils Ziggy Stardust Doll
On Thursday, the world learned that Barbie is a Bowie fan. With its release of a doll dressed as David Bowie’s glittering alter ego Ziggy Stardust, Mattel said it was celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Space Oddity,” released in 1969. The new Barbi