Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scientist Discovers the Procrastination Equation

Ok, so he published this in 2007, I meant to get around to posting it, but...

What causes a person to procrastinate? Dr. Piers Steel, University of Calgary professor in the Haskayne School of Business, came up with a formula he's dubbed Temporal Motivational Theory. That is, an equation that predicts how likely a person is to put off a task.

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

It looks like this and uses the Greek letter Ã: Utility = E x V/ÃD

Here's the full article from Eurekalert if you'd like to know more.

By the way, if you hope to break through your stalling by stating your intentions to the world (self-help books love to suggest this) think again. (You were kind of wanting to think again anyway, right, oh, and check Facebook a few times.)

Turns out that a number of studies show, announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you're less motivated to do the hard work needed. In other words, you get enough of an ego boost by stating your intention to start working out, that you don't really need to go to all the trouble of working out physically.