The Telegraph out of the UK posted a story today titled “Academics invent a mathematical equation for why people procrastinate.” In it, writer Urmee Khan reports on Prof Piers Steel, a Canadian academic who has spent over a decade looking into why people put off until tomorrow what they could do today. Acoording to Khan, Prof Steel believes that the notion that procrastinators are either perfectionists or just lazy is wrong. Steel may be on to something, but I don’t know if that something can be applied to PR people.
Steel breaks it down like this: ”The equation is U=EV/ID.
The ‘U’ stands for utility, or the desire to complete a given task. It is equal to the product of E, the expectation of success, and V the value of completion, divided by the product of I, the immediacy of the task, and D, the personal sensitivity to delay.
Prof Steel says procrastination is becoming a bigger issue because many more jobs are “self-structured”, with people setting their own schedules.
This means that people tend to postpone things with delayed rewards in favour of activities that offer immediate rewards.”
First, as a Gen-Y guy, I don’t think you’ll ever hear me say that having “self-structured” jobs where people can set their own schedules is a problem, but I do agree with the idea that people postpone things with delayed rewards in favor of immediate rewards.
I wonder how procrastination truly is viewed by others though. Is it anything that I could do right now but put off until later? Some would argue that the decision to do one thing instead of another is planning and making the best use of your time.
Any thoughts? Feel free to weigh in.
Another Procrastination post: True Life: I am a Chronic Procrastinator