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Procrastination Theories

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Julia Frey

on 10 November 2013

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Transcript of Procrastination Theories

Procrastination
Theories

Two weeks ago my English teacher kindly handed
out a media assignment based on any topic related to Hamlet. At that moment I thought, well why not the topic procrastination, as it is evidently seen through Hamlet's character. However, for some reason I consistently put off the research and the creation of my media product until today, a good 24 hrs before the due date. Despite my procrastination, the reason why we procrastinate is quite an interesting topic that many people have pondered over years. For now I have chosen to focus more on the different theories, facts and beliefs that people have found relating to why humans procrastinate.
Famous Procrastinators
Impulsiveness
Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off until tomorrow, or from day to day;” it generally means to put off something burdensome or unpleasant, and to do so in a way that leaves you worse off.
It's in the Brain!
There isn't one decision making system but two! The limbic and the prefrontal cortex systems




The president was called a “chronic procrastinator” by Time Magazine in 1994. Vice President Al Gore had even said Clinton was "punctually challenged" and his wife Hilary conceded that “it’s maddening to try to keep him on any kind of schedule.”


It took the artist 16 years to finish the famous Mona Lisa painting and The Last Supper was only finished after his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza threatened to cut off the funds. In the end the painting still took 3 years.
My Thought...
Leonardo da Vinci
Hamlet
The young prince of Denmark is constantly procrastinating the revenge of his father. He seems to put off taking action for basically the whole play, creating multiple delays along the way.
i.e. madness act and his own play
Since the beginning of time people have been known to procrastinate...even famous beings, such as...
ENJOY!
Meanings & Definitions
Procrastination is based on the Latin verb procrastinare, combining the common adverb “pro” implying forward motion with “crastinus”, meaning belonging to tomorrow
Anxiety
Bill Clinton
Theory #1
Essentially, people are believed to procrastinate certain tasks because the task itself is stressful or aversive. Therefore people who are more prone to stress would be said to procrastinate more.
Many reasons can cause anxiety.These mainly include irrational beliefs. i.e. perfectionism and fear of failure

The brain is built to minimize danger, before maximizing rewards. Too much uncertainty can be painful, causing one to avoid that one uncertainty. The possibility of a painful event is the cause for ones delay.
What happens is that when a procrastinator faces a challenging task, they will look at their skill set, their confidence in their skill set and their general measurement of success in completing a task.
As a result many of times procrastinators have little to no confidence that they can be successful in completing the task. Therefore they proceed to put it off.
Anxiety
Theory #2
Theorists Involved: Timothy Phychl, Joseph Ferrari
Impulsive people may be more likely to procrastinate as they are more involved in the desire of the moment and thereby focus their attention upon them.
Procrastinators tend to make plans to work, but fail to act upon them.
They tend to choose short term benefits over long term gains
Prefrontal Cortex
responsible for long range thinking. i.e. what you'll do next week or a New Years resolution
Limbic System
mostly concerned with immediate and concrete rewards such as, things you can instantly smell, touch, taste and hear
it also has a direct connection with the brains amygdala where one's basic emotions arise.
Therefore the limbic system typically tends to override the Prefrontal cortex that is concerned with the future outcomes
The prefrontal cortex has good intention but tends to fall weak to the impulsive needs of the limbic system
It suggests that the reason people make any decision can be largely represented by the following equation:
Temporal Motivational Theory (TMT)
#3
Theorists Involved: Bill Knaus
Theorists involved: Unknown
Motivation

indicates the drive or preference for one's course of action. Therefore the greater the motivation, the greater the preference.
Motivation
Expectancy & Value
Expectancy

refers to the odds of an outcome happening while
value

refers to how rewarding the outcome is.
Naturally one likes to choose pursuits that have a good chance of having a pleasing outcome.
Impulsiveness & Delay
Impulsiveness

refers to one's sensitivity to delay. the more impulsive one is, the less likely one is to delay gratification
Delay

refers to how long one must wait to receive the expected reward. The longer the delay, the less motivated one feels to take action.
TMT, suggests that one is more likely to pursue goals or tasks that are pleasurable and easier to attain.
One is more likely to procrastinate difficult tasks that lack enjoyable qualities.
One will most likely procrastinate any tasks that are unpleasant in the present and that only offer rewards in the distant future
One determines these motivations by the 4 variables,
expectancy, value, impulsiveness
&
delay
`` . . . anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment” (Robert Benchley).
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