Steel developed the equation U = E x V / I x D, where U is the desire to complete the task; E, the expectation of success; V, the value of completion; I, the immediacy of task; and D, the personal sensitivity to delay, as a way of mathematically mapping a given individual's procrastination response. So, for example, my desire to finish this article is influenced by my relative confidence in writing it well and the prospect of a paycheck as well as a looming deadline and my inherent desire to go home at the end of the day. "You're more likely to put something off if you're a very impulsive individual," Steel says. But, "if you only work at the last minute, time on task tells."Of course, this does not explain why humans would procrastinate in the first place, but it is certainly not a new problem. The Greek poet Hesiod, writing in 800 B.C., averred "a man who puts off work is always at handgrips with ruin" and the divine incarnation Krishna singled out procrastinators for special scorn in the Bhagavad Gita. Nor does it explain why procrastination seems to be on the rise--afflicting as many as 95 percent of students and at least 15 percent of adults, according to two recent surveys.
Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow
by David Biello
January 15, 2007
I can tell you exactly why procrastination is on the rise.
Projects are long-duration behavior. Everyone procrastinates long-duration behavior, even chickens. Maybe especially chickens; who knows? Turn K-12 into 13 years of project-based, collaborative learning, et voilà! Epidemic levels of procrastination! This generation will emerge from high school suffering the customary math phobia, and on top of that they'll have writer's block and chronic problems with procrastination and time-management.
Once they're all settled into lifelong therapy and/or AA, we'll need a whole new slew of child-centered reforms to fix the schools.