Tuesday, 16 January 2007

I've been meaning to write about this...

Turns out, there's a formula for procrastination. Piers Steel of the University of Calgary took 10 years to find it (or at least, he took 10 years to publish).
The equation's factors are the desire to complete the task (U); the expectation of success (E); the value of completion (V); the immediacy of task (I) ; and the personal sensitivity to delay (D). The magic formula is U = E x V / I x D.
(From Lifehacker via Scientific American via Procrastinus)

This seems like too simplistic an equation to have taken a decade to develop, but I'll assume that most of that time was spent just collecting data before a final mad rush to get something publishable before the grant money ran out.

What's not clear to me is what I'm supposed to do with this equation (I could read the article--maybe it has suggestions--but I don't really want to). Right now, I'm using it to procrastinate, and I'm debating on whether that's clever or just annoying.

1 comment:

Anavrin Stange Quark said...

Hi there fellow procrastinator!!
I did like the equation... and I would go for "amusing" rather than "annoying".

Nevertheless, it is rather simple. From the field research I have been performing for quite a good number of years now (but I am only just staring), I suspect that there are other variables that must be fitted into the equation; for example: confidence in obtaining extensions for deadlines, and also the assortment of unused justifications for needing and extension.
I find that these two factors actually are not even regular variables in the equation, but rather work as supra-indexes, by this I mean that the are powers for existing variables. And other minor variables include the weather, the time of the day, the length of the most recent meal, etc... however, I must study these factors much more carefully and pinpoint their effects with thorough experimentation before I take a compromise for this hypothesis. So much more research to be done in this field!

Be well Isaac!