Things we desire

So, in thinking about our tendencies toward procrastination we have been building up an equation – a recipe of sorts, that reflects the way we generally tend to behave.

Becoming somewhat familiar with the ‘recipe’ places us in a position where we are more able to determine which item of the recipe is putting the flavour balance out; which ingredient is the most distasteful. This awareness gives us opportunity to do something about the mix and in tern, increase our motivation to get on with important things we have been putting off.

4th Ingredient

The fourth ingredient of the procrastination equation is IMPULSIVENESS. This is the element that plays havoc with DELAY. In the equation, impulsiveness tends to have a fairly set value, dependent on your own proclivity to become distracted by other things. The more impulsive you are, the more sensitive you will be to delay and the more you will discount the future. And so, in the game we played last week, ‘Deal now or Deal then’, the more impulsive you are the more cash you will require to endure he waiting.

In moments of honesty we know how we tend to perform regarding impulseness and distractions. Select a figure for yourself between 1 -10.

So, the full Procrastination Equation becomes:


As the deadline for any task is pushed further into future, Delay increases and our motivation to tackle the task decreases.
Impulsiveness multiples the effect of Delay and so impulsive people feel the effects of time far less acutely (at first). Consequences have to be on their doorstep before they start paying attention to them – unless the consequences are particularly large.
And what make the consequences large? Expectancy and Value. The bigger the payoff (Value) and the greater the likelihood of receiving it (Expectancy) the sooner the project will capture your attention.

Thinking of a project, task, commitment or initiative whether it be

  • preparing the the talk,
  • writing the essay,
  • improving the house,
  • keeping the savings plan,
  • paying down the mortgage,
  • enhancing relational intimacy,

in terms of the procrastination equation will help you fight against the allure of the elastic embrace and concretely help you achieve the things you desire.

Value ( the benefit to yourself)
Expectancy ( the likelihood of success)
Delay ( and he abstractness inherent in Time)
Impulsiveness ( your own proclivity to become distracted by other things)


(Acknowledgement: Peirs Steel PhD: the Procrastination Equation 2011)

Christmas Greetings to all readers.
New year – New topic.

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