Jonathan Gould

Dad | Thinker | Advocate

Putting the Pieces Together (part 3)

In helping ourselves get abreast of our Procrastination tendencies, we can’t rely on ‘Expectancy x Value ‘ alone to describe the way we work (see last weeks post) . For one, it doesn’t allow any room for my irrational behaviour.


Sure, we respond to incentives (VALUE) to the extent we believe that they are attainable (EXPECTANCY). But the third dominant factor is TIME (which might also be termed ‘delay’). Time delay tends to make the goal appear more abstract. Delay makes more cloudy whatever motivation we may have otherwise had, making us more passive in our pursuits.

So, from Behavioural Research circles, one accepted formula for human motivation is:


In this view, the product of Expectancy and Value is divided by Delay. So, the greater the delay, the less your motivation.

Guaranteed Bank Cheque

Deal Now or Deal Then

Lets play a game called … ‘Deal Now or Deal Then’

You are a contestant in a competition and, as it happens, you have won $1,000.00
The prize money is placed into your hands in 10 x crisp $100 bills – the new ones!

However, I also have a Certified Cheque ( guaranteed money) postdated one year from now. Here is the dilemma.

What is the minimum amount I would have to write on the cheque to get you to hand back the wad of $100’s in exchange for the postdated cheque – and wait 365 days to cash it. Go on… what figure would it be??

If pressed for a gut response, many folks say they would wait 12 months for between $2000 and $3000. i.e. the VALUE would need to doubled or tripled.


If you wish to insert a numeric into the formula to indicate ‘Delay’ let it depend of ‘orders of magnitude’. If your deadline is in the order of months, count the months; if in the order of weeks, count the weeks; if days then count the days. This will give your a number to work with in the equation. Its ‘ball park’ I know, but will be somewhat be relative to the time scale you are dealing with.  However, If delay is not big deal for you – modify your number accordingly, to make it seem about right.


Next week we’ll also take a look at ‘Impulsiveness’ and how it further impacts on the procrastination equation – and our relationship to procrastination.


Procrastination Predictor No. 3

If you ponder on it for a moment, what feelings do you have about the kinds of task(s) you are putting off?   Most likely, that chore you are currently deferring is probably something you don’t especially enjoy. The technical term for this measure of enjoyment is...

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Procrastination Predictor No. 2

Apart from our first predictor - impulsivity, what else might contribute to a pattern of procrastination? Lifes Dealings I suspect there will be little argument when I say: In all sorts of ways, life can dish out an ungodly number of “no’s” and failure. I’m thinking...

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Procrastination Aftermath

Oh man. Another post on Procrastination? Hold on while we go a little deeper. The dance steps of the Procrastination Polka (see last weeks post) are so common as to be unremarkable - except for the person who has suffered through the experience and knows their...

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About my Blog page

The seed thoughts for these short pieces of writing often arise when I’m least expecting it - reading, mowing the grass, going for a walk, in the shower(?!). I see them as ‘moments of clarity’ - and I love them. (They certainly don’t happen all the time). Pretty sure you would know these kinds of moments as well.

Sometimes I manage to capture my thoughts and write them. And there's a fulfilment that comes in the sharing. These days we call it blogging and thanks to social media, the sharing is efficient.

Topics tend to meander around subjects of Identity, Boundaries, Relationship, Recovery, and Spirituality. I call it ‘SUNDAY’, being a good day for a bit of reflection.

Avail yourself of the content as you will.

May seed thoughts be planted;
Seedling thoughts watered;
And mature thinking gathered.


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