Many people struggle with procrastination in their lives. We should work out more, or eat better, or we need to study for that exam that is weeks away. Many of us struggle with what we know we should be doing, but why?

The problem is our brains are programmed to procrastinate. In general, we tend to struggle with the promise of future benefits in return for actions we take at this exact moment. That’s because it’s easier for our brains to process concrete rather than abstract things. Our brains much more easily understand the annoyance of whatever task lies ahead of us as opposed to the uncertain future benefits. So the short-term effort easily dominates the long-term upside in our minds.

As we turn our attention to exam prep, it is no wonder that procrastination is a big problem. The exam is weeks if not months away. There are many things today that you either need or want to do more than study for the exam. That exam prep book is huge, and nobody really notices if you study or not.

Education technology has a chance to change this. An app that helps you study is valuable in that you always have it with you, and therefore it is easier to study during an average day. However, one of the clear benefits that an app can provide is to provide rewards that seem more tangible in the here and now. How exactly an app does this is open to discussion, and hopefully different companies will come up with a variety of interpretations in regard to how to engage their audiences. The big point here is that the more engaging products will cut down on procrastination and enable more learning to take place.