Procrastination, Dissected, Theorized

I’ve been putting off writing this, but I know I have to at one point simply to protest some of the things I’ve read in procrastination-related articles.

First things first: yes, I’m a procrastinator. A crammer, to be precise. One day I found myself cramming a major project for Christian Living. That was probably the first time I stayed up way past my bedtime. I was in sixth grade then.

I don’t remember know how late it was. Late is relative now—lately I sleep through the afternoon, wake up at night, and stay up until morning. Sometimes it’s the opposite. It’s not really consistent anymore.

Now, why do we procrastinate?

Confidence

From U Calgary:

Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task… Perfectionism is not the culprit. In fact, perfectionists actually procrastinate less, but they worry about it more.

What irks me about this is that crammers are actually more confident in themselves than the people who finish things with a more reasonable amount of hours simply because they know somewhere in the back of their heads they’ll be able to finish it anyway. Or is that just me?

Now that begs the perfectionism issue. If a certain task is hurriedly done, is it also sloppily done? I like to think I’m just as much a perfectionist (read: O.C.) as I am a procrastinator, so I’d have to say no.

Vice

From LiveScience:

Impulsive people tend to have self-control problems in general. So they’re more likely to be smokers, more likely to overeat, more likely to gamble. They are the type of people who choose short-term gain and incur long-term pain.

I don’t smoke. I don’t overeat. I definitely don’t gamble. Do I like pain? Maybe I do…

Temporal Motivation What?

From TechRepublic:

Steel’s formula, called the Temporal Motivation Theory, calculates procrastination like Albert Einstein’s equation for energy, E=MC2. It factors the person’s expectancy for succeeding at a given task (E) or self-confidence; the value of completing the task (V); its immediacy or availability (Gamma); and the person’s sensitivity to delay (D) to come up with the desirability of the task (Utility).

The equation reads: Utility = E x V / (Gamma) x D.

Riiiiight. I’d much rather he factored in motivation over self-confidence.

Prevention

Apparently he hates technology too:

The Internet and gadgets like the Blackberry, or “crackberry,” give people a constant source of putting things off, and they create motivationally toxic environments… He said if people want to avoid procrastinating, they need to do things like remove games from their PC, or turn off automatic e-mail alerts.

Tell that to Google! Okay, so we can’t always run things the way they do over there, or cool gadgets and shiny interfaces sometimes distract people from doing their job, but fact is we all have our own “smooth moves” when it comes to getting things done. It’s hit or miss, baby, but it’s still my call. That is, procrastination isn’t the biggest evil out there or inside of us.

The Irony of it All

…is that Dr. Piers Steel, the man behind this “groundbreaking” theory, is was a procrastinator himself. So if you need help, don’t hesitate to visit his online abode and help out with his research.

I don’t know about you guys, but I know way too many procrastinators—from high school, from college, maybe even from elementary. I think many of them share my sentiment: procrastination is quite an art form, just like multitasking.


Update: Find out what procrastination is with a very cool video by zefrank.

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