Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Formula For Procrastination Found

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the putting-it-off dept.

Math 191
cancel ×

191 comments

That's great! (5, Funny)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593876)

I have to remember to read it later.

Re:That's great! (5, Funny)

AoT (107216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593952)

Yeah, it's like they say, hard work may pay off later, but procrastination pays off now.

P.S. I would've gotten first post, but I kept putting it off and putting it off.

Re:That's great! (5, Funny)

genesus (1049556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593986)

"Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow."

Re:That's great! (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594478)

...but, its gonna be too cold by then..

Re:That's great! (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594708)

...worry about that when the time comes.

As Ted Kennedy said... (0, Troll)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595328)

Ted Kennedy is a procrastinator, as evidenced by when Mary Jo Kopechne told him she was pregnant, and he said "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Re:That's great! (5, Funny)

esmoothie (838226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594868)

"procrastination is like masturbation: it's all good until you realized that you just fucked yourself"

Re:That's great! (4, Funny)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595668)

Masturbation's way better - you're fucking yourself now AND you're fucking yourself later.

Re:That's great! (3, Funny)

williamhb (758070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594156)

Tenagers rejoice -- now whenever your parents ask why you haven't tidied your room, you can give them the formula and tell them to work it out for themselves.

Re:That's great! (1, Redundant)

AchiIIe (974900) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593980)

Well, I was going to tag it on del.icio.us as toRead [del.icio.us] ... and read it later, good thing I read your entry. Joking aside the artice does not say anything about avoiding it, and I've tried everything, from egg timers to google calendar to elastic bands on the wrist (smack yourself when you catch yourself doing a bad habit) (see http://www.amazon.com/Snap-Out-Herbert-S-Cohen/dp/ 0871318962 [amazon.com] )

I've given up and now accept my procrastination as a way of life

Re:That's great! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594638)

Given that "...procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task..." and "Other predictors of procrastination include: task aversiveness, impulsiveness, distractibility, and how much a person is motivated to achieve.", your solutions will not work. You can't fix self confidence with a calendar and a rubber band.

Re:That's great! (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595114)

You can't fix self confidence with a calendar and a rubber band.

McGuyver could do it with a broken rubber band & the month of February.

Re:That's great! (4, Funny)

jginspace (678908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594128)

"I have to remember to read it later."

No worries, the dupe'll be around in a couple of days.

Re:That's great! (5, Funny)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594520)

I can't find the thread anymore, but this is in response to the criticism about DOS 2.0. While the file system inprovements aren't perfect, they are much better than 1.1. Now we can use hard disks along with the 360KB floppies. I've seen some as big at 10MBs.

Re:That's great! (1)

JT Snortbuckle JrIII (796055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594618)

My motto: Start slow and taper off. Hmmmm.. I should have changed my sig *months* ago.

Re:That's great! (2, Funny)

eyendall (953949) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595608)

Procrastinate now, don't put it off.

soo.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17593890)

I told you so!

Second post! (0, Redundant)

Commander Doofus (776923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593894)

I was trying for the first post, but put it off too long.

Re:Second post! (1)

notnAP (846325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594580)

I have a great idea for a funny post... I'll make a reference to trying to get the first post, but say I put it off too long!
Hmmm... I should probably read the posts to make sure I'm not the second guy to come up with this "second guy" idea...
Note to self... read posts to reasearch rsik* of being tagged redundant when I get around to it.

*2nd note to self... spell check when I get around to it, too.

End link tag please... (1, Funny)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593900)

Could it be, that the poster procrastinated in adding his </a>?

Ryan Fenton

Re:End link tag please... (1)

BurningPi (1032288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594488)

No, actually there are two sets of <a> tags. The second set doesn't have an href. Just look at the page's src code.

I was going to submit this story months ago (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593902)

but just didnt get around to doing it.

HD-DVD keys (4, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593914)

The movie industry is going to master a bunch of different versions of every movie, with different keys in each - hoping that it will stem the tide of 'piracy'. I don't think it's going to work.

I wanted to post this in the last story, but I just got around to it now.

Re:HD-DVD keys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595108)

Anyone who modded this as "offtopic" obviously has no sense of humor what so ever... brilliant funny post!

What the TFA is about? (1)

kirils (1050022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593970)

Is the poor old man out of his mind or have I forgotten what "funny" is?

Re:What the TFA is about? (2, Funny)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593994)

I'll get back to you on that one...

It's a PR agency playing pseudo-scientist (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595014)

It's not even something new. You can head over to "badscience.net [slashdot.org] and find a few more such examples in their archives, including the formula for the perfect football match, the perfect vacation, the perfect ice cream, the perfect beach, perfect day to book a vacation, most depressing day of the year, etc.

The way at least those invariably happened is: some company, let's call it Moraelin Tobacco Ltd, contacts some PR agency to drum up interest in smoking a bit. Tobacco taxes are up, people have made new year's resolutions to quit smoking, etc, and I could use a bit of reminding them to light one. Remember, PR isn't marketting: marketting tells you "buy Moraelin's cigarettes", PR works in more insidious ways, like telling you "boffins discovered that smoking is actually good for your health." It's marketting's evil stealthy brother. It loves to disguise itself as news.

So the PR agency concocts some stupid formula, say, "the formula for the perfect smoking experience." It's usually a stupid formula: for example the ones at badscience.net routinely do stupid stuff like add numbers that don't even have the same units. (E.g., one adds time to time squared.) They also invariably don't even tell you how to measure any of the factors involved, don't have any studies to prove it (and never a control group), etc. But the purpose of that formula isn't to be scientific, but to get Joe Sixpack's attention to whatever I'm selling, and/or to undermine whatever he had against it. Marketting will take it from there.

Ok, now they have a formula they can disguise as news, but if it comes from a PR agency, noone will take it seriously. Even Joe Sixpack isn't usually _that_ stupid. So the next round there is to find someone with some "Dr", "Prof" or whatever important sounding title, and preferrably from some university (sounds all smart and stuff to Joe Sixpack), who's willing to sell his name for some money. A lot will tell them where to shove it, but eventually they find, say, Prof Jack Conman from the university of East Bumfuckistan, who wasn't doing any research anyway and doesn't give a damn about getting a bad reputation among his peers. Sure, he'll take the PR agency's money and sign his name on their pseudo-science "paper."

And now we have all we need to send that "news" to every major newspaper, disguised as academic research.

Does it start to sound like TFA yet?

Because that's exactly what we have here: a stupid formula where they even admit that they don't even know how to measure the variables involved. Nor have any statistical data to show that that's how it works. Did they take two groups, told them to do the same project, but group A got told it's a critical, while group B was told it's unimportant? Was the time difference really linearly proportional to the value difference in dollars? Well, I don't see any such study, much less the values and error bar that would accompany real research.

And how about the elementary issue that all tasks are ultimately split into smaller sub-tasks. Any program you ever wrote, you didn't deal with it as one monumental indivisible task, but broke it up in packages, modules, functions, etc. Do you become automatically demotivated and likely to procrastinate for weeks, just because next on your list is a sub-task like the file input dialog (low V in his formula) than going after the whole program in one step (high V)? Well, blimey, wonder why we've been doing it then, in all these decades of structured design and project management.

And how about other factors, like morale, stress, or being overworked? Shouldn't they be at least mentioned in a real scientific study? Doing a big "we don't know why, it might possibly be genetic" shrug doesn't strike me as particularly clued.

And does procrastination really work that way? Really? Because the RL cases I've seen weren't as much a case of adding a fixed number of days, as a case of expanding to fill the deadline and then some. I.e., more of a case of "ah, I still have two months to start" rather than "ah, I already procrastinated a week, that's my limit, I'll start working now." Think of your college assignments, and you surely can remember yourself thinking like that at least once.

Re:It's a PR agency playing pseudo-scientist (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595192)

Boy did you ever pick the wrong subject to post that monster sized comment in.
Wish I had mod points, I'd just mod you informative & call it a day.

Re:It's a PR agency playing pseudo-scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595714)

Lol!

Re:It's a PR agency playing pseudo-scientist (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595822)

Remember that this isn't the paper. This is some reporter's idea of what would make a good story based on the paper.

I'm attempting to find the original article, but I haven't yet been successful. (It's not listed in the current table of contents, and there's no obvious search for articles.)

Search failed. (Lots of references to it, but not the original article.)

Meh. (0, Redundant)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593978)

I'll deal with it later. :\

Old news (3, Funny)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593996)

A law for procrastination was found centuries ago. [phdcomics.com]

Re:Old news (1)

BurningPi (1032288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594628)

But this is a formula.

But Yes, you are right; I saw this in the newspaper on Tuesday (here's a link [theglobeandmail.com] ).

I guess the poster put it off until today.

Wait what? (0)

KillzoneNET (958068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594010)

"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."

Wait, so instead of just wanting to do something else that is not only more fun, but more worth while means I don't have the confidence to pump out a 5 page essay in under 2 hours? Sure it is...

I DON'T do my work because I know that I CAN do the work, so why do it now?

I see a flaw in this book already.

Re:Wait what? (1)

chemisus (920383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594118)

That sounds like me also. Ive never considered myself as someone who procrastinates, but rather as a lazy perfectionist.

Re:Wait what? (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594230)

I'm glad that in the article they did mention other factors, such as being prone to distraction. Without my Ritalin, I often procrastiate or forget to do things. I have no deep seated fear of failure to wash my dishes, but I do have to walk past my playstation to get to the dishes.

Ya but... (1)

ViaNRG (892147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594024)

Who procrastinated on closing the 'span' tag?

Re:Ya but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595038)

closing the 'span' element. <span> is a tag. </span> is a tag. <span>This</span> is a span element.

Self Help Books (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594040)

Well, isn't easier to tell people that they're just perfectionist, something of a compliment, rather than they are lacking in self-confidence?

Quite a title there (5, Funny)

Arramol (894707) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594106)

"A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review of Quintessential Self-Regulatory Failure" - sounds like something out of Calvin and Hobbes. "The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick and Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes."

Re:Quite a title there (3, Funny)

Masato (567927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595488)

Although I've already seen at least one post to PhD comics, I figured I'd post another since it fits your title so well: Thesis Titles [phdcomics.com]

Uhh, the opposite for me (3, Interesting)

amplusquem (995096) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594134)

"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."

I procrastinate because I HAVE confidence that I can finish the task later, not because I'm afraid that I won' actually be able to complete a task. If I'm afraid about finishing a task, I will start it earlier. Fear of not being able to complete a task leads to NOT doing that task for a lot of people, not procrastinating.

These "scientific studies" over analyze simple things such as procrastination. Ever think that maybe it's because of laziness, or just that you really want to watch that football game?

Re:Uhh, the opposite for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594498)

He would respond that, since you have confidence that you can finish a task later, what you do is not procrastination, but rather ordinary deadline management. What other people think of you deadline management and whether or not you are actually correct in your assumptions are irrelevant to whether you are a procrastinator.

Re:Uhh, the opposite for me (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594664)

I'm a hell of a procrastinator and I too procrastinate when I know that I can finish the task later. Moreover, procrastination actually made me more confident in myself where work is concerned, because now I know for sure that I can do huge amounts of good enough work in a unit of time.

That being said, my resolutions about diets and physical exercises have usually been more or less of a failure :-)

Re:Uhh, the opposite for me (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595056)

I procrastinate because I HAVE confidence that I can finish the task later, not because I'm afraid that I won' actually be able to complete a task.

The author of the article would probably argue that what you're doing doesn't meet the definition of procrastination, then. Procrastination isn't merely choosing to postpone a task that can just as easily be done later; it's putting something off that you know you need to start now.

The author's isn't a procrastinator (1)

waterbear (190559) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594136)

He's published early for April 1

-wb-

Re:The author's isn't a procrastinator (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594158)

He's published early for April 1

      Nahh, it was supposed to be April 1, 1989. He's just being consistent!

Re:The author's isn't a procrastinator (1)

waterbear (190559) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594162)

Or maybe I got that wrong and it was supposed to out last April 1

-wb-

At least in my case, totally wrong. (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594154)

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.

I procrastinate. Hard-core. I'll put off week-long tasks until the night before. I don't do this because I expect to fail and can blame starting too late - I do it because I know perfecly well that I can do that and still finish the task on time.

If you accuse me of any confidence-related shortfall, you'd have to call me over- confident. Perfectionist, though? In some things, yes. But I don't procrastinate for that reason either. Where do these absurd theories come from?



You want to know why I procrastinate, knowing full-well that, while I may not produce my best results, I also have no doubt that I will succeed in producing an acceptible finished product? Simple - Because I've found that at least half the time, the task's nature changes significantly or the task outright goes away. No joke.

In school, teachers/professors would always extend deadlines because most people whined too loudly that they considered the (perfectly easy and reasonable) assignment too hard or unfair. Professors would scale back the requirements, excuse subpar work, and often never even bother looking at what people turned in.

In the working world, most "urgent problems" that come up, go away without any intervention by the next day. Long term projects have their budgets slashed at the end of the quarter. reports never get read anyway.



So, by putting everything off until the last minute, I find myself with a hell of a lot more time to spend on meaningful (aka "self directed") activities.

That doesn't, however, translate to "lazy". When I say "self-directed", I mean self-directed. I have always impressed my professors or managers not with the quality of my assigned work, but with the quality of what I do for its own sake. But then, I enjoy what I do, so my "personal" projects tend to have value to any endeavor I take on.



And all this because I procrastinate, a habit looked down on by most people.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594360)

I don't need to procrastinate, I just attempt to organize myself around others for the same outcome.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (3, Insightful)

Nedmud (157169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594372)

I think the answer to this is that what you're doing isn't real procrastination --- instead, you say you do this because you know it's the optimum course of action for some tasks. Many procrastinators know full well that they should get started NOW, but they just don't.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (1)

Nedmud (157169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595052)

Perhaps I should add that I don't mean to say this as a snipe at procrastinators, but from my own experience as a chronic procrastinator.

MOD UP (2, Informative)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595116)

FTA:
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.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594660)

I agree with the parent completely, and feel this describes me as well. I have no fear about completing a project, but know that it is just more efficient to do so at the last minute than to begin immediately.

The one time in my life (Freshman year, I naively believed college was more difficult than high school) I began a paper a full two weeks before it was due. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on it. Changing this phrase, wiping out that one. In the end, I was pretty proud of the paper, and maintain it is one of the best things I have ever written. Final grade, A-.

The time invested was easily triple my norm for a paper, and I netted the exact same grade (granted the average on this paper was a D-, TA had an english minor and wanted to prove he could be a dick). My little tinkerings made a better paper, but creating a 'perfect' paper took far too much time.

Upon later reflection, I realized that a great deal of my time wasn't even spent on the paper itself. I knew I had plenty of time to waste, and so would read slashdot, stare at the tv, etc, all while I was 'writing' my paper. I had time to burn.

Contrasted to last semester when my Anthropology professor (gotta get those GEs out of the way) assigned a five page paper due in three weeks, I did not think about it until two days before it was due. I knew full well, that when I could feel the fire under my ass and I had ten hours to turn it in, I would be hepped-up on Mt. Dew and furiously typing away, because no matter what, I was going to finish it. It might not be the best paper ever written, but it would be done. End result: A-.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (1)

apostrophesemicolon (816454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594682)

adding to parent thread pla's comment,

aside from knowing my ability to fulfill the requirement of the task on time, I also need another factor to set in to be able to start and perform what I need to do: the sense of URGENCY.

In college, at night before an exam (quiz, midt, or even final) I would not, or could not, study until early AM. My typical night-before-exam is chill/hangout with friends, then jay leno, then o'brien, then maybe some other shows after that. By this time I'd probably be hungry and fix myself some ramen.

Then I'd sit by the desk and start reading. The reading won't take long due to distraction of what's on the computer, maybe check out ebay items, check out who's online on IM, play songs, etc.
Finally, the brain is most ready for academic input at around 3 to 5 hours prior to exam. By then, even skimming the pages would still result in good grades.

Therefore, I think procrastination is just a phase to build an incentive for the self. For others maybe it's to wait for all necessary info to set in before starting the task, for me it's the sense of urgency.

but you're not procrastinating then (1)

ToastyKen (10169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595084)

By the definition in the article, what you're doing isn't procrastination, because you don't believe you SHOULD start sooner. If you think you're fine doing it later, that's not procrastination. Procrastination is when you think you should do it earlier but still do it later anyway.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595202)

I also procrastinate because I'm rather overconfident. Having dealt with consultants who eventually turned out to be just as knowledgeable as I was halfway through projects didn't lessen my confidence.
The one thing I have to do when I have to do anything is just start it. It's like I have to switch myself on and then I do it, and then often I feel good doing it.
Knowing I'm very lazy helps as well because then I know what to deal with to get myself to do something.

Re:At least in my case, totally wrong. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595664)

In the working world, most "urgent problems" that come up, go away without any intervention by the next day. Long term projects have their budgets slashed at the end of the quarter. reports never get read anyway.

So, by putting everything off until the last minute, I find myself with a hell of a lot more time to spend on meaningful (aka "self directed") activities.

Hi, pla, this is your boss. I'm going to have to put off your next raise. And your next paycheck.

;)

So this is it (4, Funny)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594182)

So this is slashdot.. I'll report my cure for cancer ... sometime soon ... perhaps..

We're a federally protected class (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594214)

From TFA: It's still unclear why some people may be more prone to developing procrastination behaviour, but some evidence suggests it may be genetic"

If it is genetic, then procrastinator should be protected under discrimination laws, like vets, the blind, etc. "You can't charge me interest or penalties on my unpaid income tax! I'm disabled by GPD." ( Genetic Procrastination Disorder )

Re:We're a federally protected class (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595446)

That's small potatoes, do you know how many times I've been wrongfully fired for my GPD ?

Will the formula change now? (1)

EarthlingN (660382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594238)

Do you think people will take these findings into account when they planning on procrastinating from now on? Will that change the formula?

Re:Will the formula change now? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594512)

No, because they'll never get around to reading it.

A friend of mine, way back when he was a Boy Scout, was given a circular disc of wood and told to burn the letters "TUIT" into it. He did so, and when he asked what it meant, he was told "the next time somebody says 'they just haven't got around to it yet', he should hand them the disc and say, 'here you go'".

Schroedinger's Potato? (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595442)

(n/t)

Links (2, Informative)

martyb (196687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594396)

Links to the sources:

BTW: A quote I saw on the latter site:

"One of the greatest labor-saving inventions of today is tomorrow." Vincent T. Foss

Useless formula (4, Insightful)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594408)

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 (G) and the person's sensitivity to delay (D).

It looks like this and uses the Greek letter G (capital gamma [except I changed the gamma to a G since slashdot wouldn't take the gamma]): Utility = E x V / GD


Here's my problem with psychology types coming up with formulae--the results of the calculation depend heavily on the scale used for measurement of the variables. I don't know of any standard scale for "expectancy of succeeding with a given task" or any of the other variables. Further, it seems that these variables would depend on self-evaluation, which we all know is not particularly useful--particularly in this area.

In other words--why did this guy claim to make a formula? Formulae are for people looking for a result that is reasonably precise; but in this case the extremely imprecise input will result in useless output.

Re:Useless formula (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595196)

True, but it does say a lot in a small space. I can look at that formula and quickly see the relationship between these psychological factors, and understand the whole idea without reading the hundreds of words it would take to express the same thing.

Plus, formulas are cool. This article would never have made slashdot without the formula (and I, for one, welcome our... oh nevermind).

Re:Useless formula (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595514)

Who reads stuff about procrastination ?
Procrastinators, they wonder why they do it.
Who bothers to figure out some strange formula about procrastination ?
Not procrastinators, they haven't got around to learning how to read formulas.
It was a fairly safe bet on his part.

Fermat's Lazy Therom (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594414)

"I have discovered a truly marvellous proof, which I'll jot down in this margin later."

Oh, one of those "Formula for XY found" stories... (3, Interesting)

johnny maxwell (1050822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594436)

These stories are just clever PR gags, they contain nothing of scientific value. Just look at the "equation" for a moment and you start wondering what the actually equate:

"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 () and the person's sensitivity to delay (D). It looks like this and uses the Greek letter (capital gamma): Utility = E x V / D"

See: "expectancy", "value", "desirability" and so on. Perfect scientific quantities, don't you think?

Read more about those jerks atGuardian's Bad Science [guardian.co.uk] , they come up regularly

Procrasticode (5, Interesting)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594448)

do {
    if (job.time_allocated < job.deadline - now()) {
        play();
    }else{
        work();
    }
} while (!job.finished)


That's how I do it even though this is clearly more efficient:

while (!job.finished) work();
play();

Re:Procrasticode (1)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595646)

Are you planning to compile this anytime soon? :o

First post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594454)

I was going to make the first post on this earlier, but I kept putting it off.

A Little Poem (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594474)

This reminds me of a poem that my 4th grade teacher always had on the wall:

Procrastination is my sin
It brings me endless sorrow
I really should stop doing it
I guess I'll stop tomorrow

Depression (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594494)

Depression goes together with both procrastination and perfectionism (although I don't profess to know which way (if any) the causality works). Depressed people tend to feel guilty they've procrastinated so much, and, as a result, they avoid the task - in other words, they procrastinate further. Depressed people also tend to be dissatisfied with their work (even or perhaps especially when others praise it). Sometimes, that can be a reason to not take the last step in completion or submission.

Re:Depression (2, Interesting)

myndzi (645534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595182)

Entirely true for me.

"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 (G) and the person's sensitivity to delay (D). It looks like this and uses the Greek letter (capital gamma): Utility = E x V / GD"

Something interesting to note here -- if you are something like me, you may have built up an expectancy of failure not due to skill, but due to procrastination. That is, I tend to expect that I won't complete a project, not that I am incapable of doing so. E = 0 is a pretty bad case given the math! How does one rectify such a situation? I'll let you know when I figure it out. I plan to begin studying it tomorrow...

Procrastinators drive progress (4, Insightful)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594500)

While the Type-A do-gooder hardworkers were busy digging holes in the dirt with their bare hands, the lazy procrastinators decided to invent a hoe to do it twenty times faster (and probably starting the job two days after the hand diggers). All technology serves to implement laziness and procrastination, which in turn drives progress.

Re:Procrastinators drive progress (1)

Kiba Ruby (1037440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594582)

No. That is called laziness. Not procrastinators. Procrastinators don't do any work until the last second. Lazy people rather get it over with, with the most efficient and laziest way possible. Although, laziness in itself, hard work. Must. Resist. Temptation. To. Work. Inefficiently.

I learned Procrastination in school (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594560)

Early on, I'd start all the assignments my teachers gave to me the day they handed them out. Then later teachers started cancelling harder assignments because people couldn't do them. So I decided at that point if teachers cancel assignments 5-10% of the time, if I wait for the last day possible to do the assignment. Then that stuck. So I'm a procrastinator on all things boring.

Re:I learned Procrastination in school (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595552)

I had a similar experience, except, I kept getting sent to the principals office for disrupting the rest of the class when I got done with assignents.

So you see, by becomming a procrastinator, I've made it possible to others to learn & myself to stay out of trouble.

Well, duh. Of course perfectionism isn't involved (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594572)

I put off stuff when I don't want to do it. End of story. I find that reminding myself of the consequences for not getting things done is only mildly effective. You have to have a balance of work and pleasure. Sometimes, going off and partying really is the answer. When you're "relaxed" or "partied out", then you're more willing to work. If you find yourself fulminating about something you don't want to do, stop. Get a cup of coffee, talk with a friend, play a game, whatever makes you feel good. This will take just as much time, but when you come back you'll be happier about rolling up your sleaves and getting the job done.

Re:Well, duh. Of course perfectionism isn't involv (1)

Disseminated (1022915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595090)

Yes, that's very insightful. Because your psyche represents the whole human race!

Re:Well, duh. Of course perfectionism isn't involv (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595392)

Ahh... the ever popular "I'll make outrageous inferences" troll. Either you're doing it on purpose to be difficult, it's an honest mistake, or I have some sort of defecit in my writing. I've been subject to this form of attack, if that's what it is, on more than on occasion. I've gotten to the point where I feel I must refuse to reply to them in terms of what's actually being implied. Instead, I can only offer that if you think I've said something ridiculous, odds are it was not what I intended to say. I wager that for just about any writing beyond one or two sentances, it's not difficult to craft an inference troll, either on purpose or by accident. That's why there's no point in trying to remedy this problem by being careful in my composition. If I did, it would likely read more like a legal document than a casual comment.

10 Years of "Research" (1)

Colgate2003 (735182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594592)

However, no indication was given of how much time was spent putting it off before it was begun.

No, but we do get a hint at it:

According to this AP article [cnn.com] , the study entailed "10 years of research on a project that was supposed to take only five years."

first post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594612)

I hope I didn't wait too long...

damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594616)

I just wanted to say

Poster (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594630)

Here's one [despair.com] for all the procrastinators.... I still haven't got round to ordering one though...

Re:Poster (1)

LauraW (662560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594766)

I like this one [despair.com] better.

Well, sort of... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594652)

Posting anonymous for obvious reasons...

I procrastinate because, yes, I'm an under-achiever and uncertain of myself. But I think I'm an underachiever because I've intentionally and strategically kept new people out of my life for fear of being found out as a bisexual (including remaining a virgin... I don't know if remaining a virgin throughout college is common or if I'm in an extremely tiny minority).

Instead of succeeding, I purposefully have kept away from doing anything that might even remotely mean people being near or around me for over the last ten years, almost becoming a shut-in hermit except for going to my university (in which I'd talk to nobody). When you're hard-working and successful, and finish your work on time, you have a chance of being in some spotlight, such as the Dean's list or honor roll... remaining anonymous and unknown meant nobody would notice or get hurt if I, oh, just happened to jump off a bridge someday, and I performed accordingly in my work to reflect that. I have nobody to blame but myself for being a coward, having very recently come to terms with how my irrational fears of irrational people have severely jeopardized my well-being; and that if someone has a problem with something so trivial about me, that's THEIR fucking problem, not MINE. But that's another story... I procrastinated on purpose. During these last couple of months I have finally been working on some of the things I wanted to do when in college, at least those things related to computer programming such as teaching myself other programming languages, writing a small game, making a crude graphics rendering engine to learn more OpenGL than I did in college... of course, it's not as fun when you're not working on something like this with fellow students and having fun, but I've graduated and now I'm not sure where or how to meet people in my town.

Anyway, I'm getting distracted from the subject at hand. Long story short, irrational fears not directly related to what you're procrastinating may indirectly cause you to procrastinate what you're procrastinating... (I hope that wasn't grammar-diarrhea)

Re:Well, sort of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594898)

I don't know if remaining a virgin throughout college is common or if I'm in an extremely tiny minority
Sorry but you're in the minority.

Re:Well, sort of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595716)

I can relate to you my friend.

I have a problem forming relationships with people probably related to some flavor of social anxiety disorder and depression.

If you are the star student in the class or department people are going to know who you are, look up to you, want to know you, yeah even *gasp* girls...so I'd do the same thing as you.

And not just for academics! I'd do really great at practice in sports when it's just other players around but when everyone is watching I blow it...everyone thinks it's because I choke under pressure...thanks to the anonymity of the internet I can really admit it's because I don't want all the attention. Sports are fun to play, why these spectators who don't even play want to be your friend or your sex0r I don't get it, you don't even play this damn sport!

The original article of the story is probably bogus as most people say, and many people procrastinate for all different reasons, but it's nice to know someone else is the same way.

I guess this behavior falls more into underachiever than procrastinator. A lot of procrastinators get great grades and are darlings of the department so I think it's a separate issue.

Obligatory (2, Funny)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594702)

I already came up with the formula, I was just too lazy to publish it.

I, for one ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17594706)

am planning on eventually welcoming our new procrastinating overlords.

If it weren't for the last minute... (1)

vee-dub.net (305865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594902)

Nothing would ever get done.

The word has always creeped me out (4, Funny)

Flipao (903929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17594948)

I've always thought Procastinators were people who kept their virginity in exchange for money... or people who cut each other's genitals in exchange for money... either way I think I probably need a shrink :/

Re:The word has always creeped me out (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595656)

You're thinking of a Pro Castrator.

Too high workload cause of procrastination? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595080)

From The Fina Article: Steel concludes: "Continued research into procrastination should not be delayed, especially because its prevalence seems to be growing."

If the prevalence of procrastination seems to be growing, doesn't this say something about the workload of the average procrastinator? I don't think people have been getting lazier during the past decade or so, so there must be another reason for procrastination getting more in vogue.

I THANK YOU FOR YOUR tIME (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17595478)

the political mess is the group that declined in market those uber-asshole good manners everYthing else NIGGER community time wholesome and dabblers. In truth, Www.anti-slash.org

not my experience (2, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595638)

Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves
The things I procrastinate are things I know I can wing well enough at the last minute and still get by. I'd bet many procrastinators are similar. Not everything has to be done right now. Plus, I've found that many problems self-resolve if you ignore them, or you find out later that they weren't the emergency they first seemed to be. We're just too mired in the cult of efficiency, and everyone is convinced everything has to be done now-now-now so you can do more-more-more. We would do well with less doing and more thinking.

How much do you want to bet that slashdot.... (1)

FallLine (12211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17595686)

How much do you want to bet that slashdot is one of the variables in the formula? :-)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...