AurieaHarvey About Context Contact Index Random
Trail: procrastination




“... Dr. Piers Steel is probably the world’s foremost expert on the subject of putting off until tomorrow what should be done today. His comprehensive analysis of procrastination research, published in the recent edition of the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin, presents some surprising conclusions on the subject, such as:
Most people’s New Year’s resolutions are doomed to failure
Most self-help books have it completely wrong when they say perfectionism is at the root of procrastination, and
Procrastination can be explained by a single mathematical equation
“Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task,” Steel says. “Perfectionism is not the culprit. In fact, perfectionists actually procrastinate less, but they worry about it more.”
Other predictors of procrastination include: task aversiveness, impulsiveness, distractibility, and how much a person is motivated to achieve. Not all delays can be considered procrastination; the key is that a person must believe it would be better to start working on given tasks immediately, but still not start.

“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
It’s still unclear why some people may be more prone to developing procrastination behaviour, but some evidence suggests it may be genetic. Steel concludes: “Continued research into procrastination should not be delayed, especially because its prevalence seems to be growing.”
The title of the paper is “The Nature of Procrastination: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review of Quintessential Self-Regulatory Failure.” The American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin is arguably the top academic journal for the social sciences. Steel’s research on the subject is referred to as a meta-analysis, in which he distills and synthesizes the evidence on procrastination from 691 other research sources.

see also: 2005-01-24 The Most depressing Day of the Year