I’m sure it happens to all of us… We sit down to do something but we easily get distracted. We can blame modern technology – mobile phones, the internet, MySpace…

Science Daily reports about a study which found the formula for procrastination. Of course, it only took him ten years to work it out.

Steel has also come up with the E=mc2 of procrastination, a formula he’s dubbed Temporal Motivational Theory, which takes into account factors such as the expectancy a person has of succeeding with a given task (E), the value of completing the task (V), the desirability of the task (Utility), its immediacy or availability (Γ) and the person’s sensitivity to delay (D).

It looks like this and uses the Greek letter Γ (capital gamma): Utility = E x V / ΓD

The Toronto Star has a bit more analysis and information on the effects of procrastination.

"That stupid game Minesweeper – that probably has cost billions of dollars for the whole society," he said.

The U.S. gross national product would probably rise by $50 billion if the icon and sound that notifies people of new email suddenly disappear, he added.

"People who procrastinate tend to be less healthy, less wealthy and less happy," Steel said Wednesday. "You can reduce it, but I don’t think you can eliminate it.”

I did read an article in The Economist reviewing a book which suggested that procrastination and being messy is actually a good thing.

Procrastination makes sense too. America’s Marine Corps, the authors repeat (several times), never make detailed plans in advance. Leaving important things to the last minute reduces the risk of wasting time on things that may ultimately prove not important at all.

I will agree with the fact that tidying up your desk and re-organizing everything doesn’t improve your productivity, but I don’t think I’d go as far as to say that procrastination is a good thing.

Does anyone suffer from any big procrastination issues, and how have you tackled them? 

3 thoughts on “Procrastination

  1. You realise this is your third post atleast about procrastination? Some would say you’re procrastinating by writing about procrastination.

    I’d say procrastination is healthy as long as you keep a good ratio between it and productivity.

  2. Is it?:) I didn’t notice! It’s quite nice and topical anyway. I’m not too bad with the procrastination at the moment.. getting everything done on time and generally not the night before!

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