Believe it or not, I really *did* have a procrastination post partially written; but was too lazy to put it all together and post it. But now I know the reason why. I have had a nasty problem lately with getting motivated to accomplish anything. I swear, there are days I drip dry rather than expend the energy to towel off after a shower. Style the mop? Not a chance-- drag a comb through it, twist it up, and call it good. I park with my textbook for class and read one or two paragraphs over and over and over--and still don't have a clue what I just finished reading. The essay due this weekend? Ummmmm.....if I start on Saturday, will that be too late? Cook food? Hmmm, how about a nice PB&J sandwich for dinner tonight? You got your protein, your fruit, and your grains. A nice balanced meal, right? But now I know what the problem is. It's not "winter", which is my usual all-purpose excuse. It's far worse. I am showing symptoms of a new disease-- and the bad news is that it may be incurable. Australian Scientists Discover New Disease
Motivational deficiency disorder Extreme laziness may have a medical basis, say a group of Australian scientists in this week's BMJ, as they describe a new condition called motivational deficiency disorder (MoDeD). The condition is claimed to affect up to one in five Australians and is characterised by overwhelming and debilitating apathy. Neuroscientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia say that in severe cases motivational deficiency disorder can be fatal, because the condition reduces the motivation to breathe. Trials of indolebant, a drug to help combat this condition, are underway and initial results are promising. "Indolebant is effective and well tolerated," adds Professor Argos. "One young man who could not leave his sofa is now working as an investment adviser in Sydney."I gotta get me some of that stuff. ;-)
Neurologist Leth Argos is part of the team that has identified the disorder. "This disorder is poorly understood," he says. "It is underdiagnosed and undertreated."They almost had me going, even the part about being too lazy to breathe-- until I got to the name of the neurologist. "Leth Argos"? Now, I am enough of an English geek to recognize a Latin etymology occasionally. Lethargy, anyone? I feel something pulling on my leg now...... I did a little more googlystuff, and sure enough, this site picked up an article originally published by the British Medical Journal-- on April 1st, 2006. Too bad they didn't notice the date. Feeling smug at catching this little gem-- can't fool Mother Laurie, after all-- I looked around a little more at this Scientific American site, until I came across this article. It seems that the fine art of procrastination has been summed up in a mathematical equation. (The first thing I did was check the date. Fool me once, etc.)
I am a moderate procrastinator. Even when I believe that I would be best served by finishing a task (say, filing this story), I will occasionally put it off in favor of some short-term reward (like a much needed caffeine fix).(I already like the writer of this article. Java, anyone?)
This tendency on my part to delay what is in my long-term interest can now be explained by a simple mathematical equation, according to industrial psychologist Piers Steel of the University of Calgary. Steel developed the equation U = E x V / I x D, where U is the desire to complete the task; E, the expectation of success; V, the value of completion; I, the immediacy of task; and D, the personal sensitivity to delay, as a way of mathematically mapping a given individual's procrastination response.U = E x V / I x D. There you have it. Even though I suck at math, I now have an excuse for writing a four page essay in the two hours before it is due.