Wanna know why you procrastinate? Then do the math

Wondering why you have an impulse that drives you to put off what you’ve been doing?

Now you can compute it with a mathematical formula. It took 10 years to create it though.

The act of dillydallying, according to Dr. Piers Steel, a professor from University of Calgary, can be boiled down to three human traits:

(1) the person’s confidence, (2) values, and (3) impulsiveness.

And the equation goes like this: U = E x V / Γ x D

Where:

U = desire to complete the task;

E = the expectation of success;

V = the value of completion;

Γ = the immediacy of task;

D = the personal sensitivity to delay.

To simplify the formula, I’ll give a scenario by using myself  as an example:

My desire to complete this post (which is U) is equal to my confidence of writing it properly (E), and the comments and hits I get from this post (V), as well as my self-imposed deadline to finish this post within an hour (Γ), and my impulse to view my tweets, check my facebook notifications, eat my lunch, and play my youtube playlist (D).

To replace the formula, here would be the case if I apply it to my example:

U = writing this post;

E = my confidence to write it properly;

V = comments and hits I get from this post;

Γ = self-imposed deadline to finish post within an hour;

D = impulse to view my tweets, check my facebook notifications, eat my lunch, and play my youtube playlist.

You can also try the math if you want. Just replace my example with your own scenario to get it.

Don’t like to do the math? You can take the procrastination test as an alternative. Though you have to tally your responses.

Still can’t get it? You can get it from other sources:

1. Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow

2. A formula for procrastination

3. We’re Sorry This Is Late … We Really Meant To Post It Sooner: Research Into Procrastination Shows Surprising Findings

4. Academics invent a mathematical equation for why people procrastinate

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One thought on “Wanna know why you procrastinate? Then do the math

  1. Wow…never thought researcher’s get into these kind of abstract topics. I wonder why would the university allow that kind of a research. Does this formula have any kind of economic bearing? *Thinking*

    Allen: Yes. Believe me. There’s a lot of them. And I have been exposed to a lot of those kind of abstract topics back in college.

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