Monday, March 14, 2011

When Manana Is Too Soon: by, Kurt Kleiner. The Longman Reader Pg. 411-414

When Manana Is Too Soon, is written by Kurt Kleiner and is about what Piers Steel, who posted an analysis of psychological literature, thinks causes procrastination. Piers Steel published a journal, Psychological Bulletin, and these are what he concluded causes procrastination (411). He has made a conclusion that procrastination is not based on perfectionism and anxiety, but rather on how important a task is, whether someone is looking forward to the task, their confidence, and the amount of time that they have to complete a task.
Distraction is a huge issue regarding procrastination. With the quick and easy access that people have to entertainment in current times it is becoming more common for people to stop what they are doing and come back to it later. The issue with this, is that people are thinking about the fact that they are not getting work done when they should be. This thinking then leads people to procrastinate rather than getting results. Procrastination leads to mediocre results, because something is rushed rather than completed with care. The example that this passage used was regarding taxes. “H&R Block says that putting off taxes… costs U.S. citizens an average of $400 each because of errors due to the last-minute rush”(412).  Steel believes that procrastination can be measured by a formula. That formula is:  
Utility=E X V / Gamma D
“Utility is the desirability of getting something done. E is expectancy, or confidence. V is the value of the job, and includes not only its importance but also its unpleasantness. Gamma stands for how prone a person is to delay doing things. And D means delay, or how far away the consequences of doing, or not doing, the task.”(413) I felt that using a formula to measure procrastination is an interesting and creative way of looking at this topic. “The bigger the top number compared to the bottom, the less likely a task will be put off. So if you expect to do well at a job (E), and it’s a pleasant thing to do (V), and you’re not prone to being delayed by distractions (Gamma), and it has to be done right away (D), you’re not likely to procrastinate”(413). This makes a lot of sense, because I know that if a task needs to be done immediately and I enjoy doing it, I do not worry about the task. Now, as the opposite result of the formula shows, if I can keep delaying a task, that I do not particularly like, and have little confidence in my ability to complete the task, then I probably would get nervous about that particular task.
This passage presented an interesting way to looking at procrastination. I like how it took a complicated topic that I am sure psychologists and scientists spend a lot of time conducting research on and presented it in a simple way that everyday people can understand. I am aware, from the reading that not all people agree with what Mr. Steel published about this topic. In my opinion, I am sure that the issue of procrastination is not as simple as Mr. Steel presented. I do feel that what he has written is an outline of how procrastination works and is a great piece of work for simple everyday people to read if they are looking for an understandable reading on the topic of procrastination.     

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