Blogging is a form of my procrastination. Actually, it's one of my many forms of procrastination, but that's not the point. And the funny thing is, this post is going to be about procrastination.
So, you know where you're in your last year of college / high school, and you really don't want to do anything, so you don't do anything, and that's called "senioritis"?
Well, apparently there's something like that for sophomores and it's called the “sophomore slump". My friend said that she had it, and I was intrigued.
But, quite honestly, I believe that we are naturally lazy people, and we tend to not do things that are boring or tedious or difficult. Sometimes, it's just really nice to cruise through life.
Actually, it's an economic concept.
The action of procrastinating can be explained through behavioral economics and hyperbolic discounting. Let me try to briefly explain:
Would you rather have $100 right now or $100 in a week?
Obviously, you would want to have the $100 right now. This is because we "discount" the future more than the present. Even though $100 is the same absolute value, it seems to be more valuable to us now than it is going to be in the future.
However, would you rather have $100 right now or $150 in a month?
This time, the answer may vary according to person to person. This is because people discount the future differently, and we make the choice that seems to give us more happiness or "utility". Even though $150 is definitely worth more in value, for some of us, having it a month later seems less valuable.
So, one of the reasons why we procrastinate is because we feel that by doing something we don't like to do or something that we don't want to do right now seems to be too costly to do right now. That seems to be a convoluted sentence, but in our heads, we do some kind of cost-benefit calculation and don't see it as costly to do it in the future.
Then, we put it off for later. And when we get to "later", doing the same task at that time seems too costly and we would put it off even further. We naturally procrastinate by calculating our utilities in the present moment. This is called a present bias.
And when we get to the absolute last opportunity to do it, we find out that it was much more costly than we first anticipated. But, we just didn't really realize that in the past. That's why finishing an essay last minute or cramming right before a test is probably really stressful for some people.
However, some of us, definitely not me, are not procrastinators. Those of you that aren't, are amazing. My sister, definitely not a procrastinator.
And that could be described economically as well. Those that are procrastinators have "commitment mechanisms" in place that will help them commit and follow through with the original plan.
This is a taste of behavioral economics. People who understand this make a lot of money, but it's all really confusing and quantitative and abstract. Yes, all of that. But, it's really fascinating the actions that you do every day and the way think can be described through economic principles. Though, it does make sense. Economics is a study of choice.
But, to relate this all back to how I'm doing, I'm a BIG procrastinator. I'm procrastinating right now! I have about 400+ pages to read and write a reading response on, due tomorrow, and I am probably on page 20. And whether or not the sophomore slump exists, I need to develop my own commitment mechanisms to do the things that I need to do.
I think, for now, it really helps me to write down all the things down and try to tackle them one at a time. But, I do get distracted a lot…
Actually, to be honest, I don’t really remember what I started this blog about. What is the point that I am trying to make? I started writing it some time last week… BUT, in my defense, I had gone back to actual schoolwork in the middle. :)
But, I hope I presented the concept of procrastination in a different way than you’ve seen it. Unless you’re a behavioral economist, of course.
Are you a procrastinator? Or, if not, what are some things that you hold you accountable to the things that you have to do? Share your thoughts with me.
As always, thank you for getting to the bottom.
Over and out.
PS. David So ends his #FFF videos with: “Life is always what you make it, but it’s up to you to take what you deserve. Let’s go for broke!” I love it, and I hope to start using this as my mantra.