idea about procrastination

This is not about akrasia per se, but I thought you might resonate with
it.

I will keep this short, I can elaborate if you’re interested.

I think it might be helpful to differentiate between people who are

  • result-oriented* and those who are performance-oriented.

I have the impression that quite often I’m not really interested in
the result of an action, but in my performance or perceived
performance. That means for instance if I have to write an article and
I started now, it would take me 6 hours, I’d be done by tomorrow and
be able to move on. Most often this would be the right thing to do if
I’m looking for results.

I might feel though that I’m not in the perfect state for the task
right now and that the ideas needed have not incubated in my mind
thoroughly enough. I’d see the 6 hours I’d need for the article as a
lousy performance and wait “until it’s time”.

Then maybe I’d be able to write quite a good article in just 2
hours (great performance) but deliver it too late (poor results).

When I had this idea I thought “of course!” - I definitely put a high
value on performance, and there seems to be something terribly wrong
with that.

Great results get you the benefits of those results, great performance
seems to be the booby prize.

It’s quite profound to me, but I’d like to know if it’s useful to others as
well…

Any feedback?

Alex

That sounds like akrasia to me! Either procrastination (rationalized as
"letting the ideas incubate in my brain") or perfectionism (obsessive
fussing when you know it would be more efficient to get the thing out the
door and move on). Either way, you know what you should do when you step
back and think about it, but it’s not what you do do, in the moment.

On Aug 4, 2011 2:14 PM, “Alexander Schwarz” miro23@gmail.com wrote:

This is not about akrasia per se, but I thought you might resonate with
it.

I will keep this short, I can elaborate if you’re interested.

I think it might be helpful to differentiate between people who are

  • result-oriented* and those who are performance-oriented.

I have the impression that quite often I’m not really interested in
the result of an action, but in my performance or perceived
performance. That means for instance if I have to write an article and
I started now, it would take me 6 hours, I’d be done by tomorrow and
be able to move on. Most often this would be the right thing to do if
I’m looking for results.

I might feel though that I’m not in the perfect state for the task
right now and that the ideas needed have not incubated in my mind
thoroughly enough. I’d see the 6 hours I’d need for the article as a
lousy performance and wait “until it’s time”.

Then maybe I’d be able to write quite a good article in just 2
hours (great performance) but deliver it too late (poor results).

When I had this idea I thought “of course!” - I definitely put a high
value on performance, and there seems to be something terribly wrong
with that.

Great results get you the benefits of those results, great performance
seems to be the booby prize.

It’s quite profound to me, but I’d like to know if it’s useful to others
as
well…

Any feedback?

Alex

What I liked about this insight is that it gives me a handle. It’s not
"This is akrasia so I’ll use a commitment device" but “I see the underlying
mechanism, so I can try to change the mindset and address the cause.”

Alex

If you suffer from akrasia with regard to a particular goal, then, almost by
definition, there are only two ways to get yourself to do what you think is
necessary to achieve it. One is to use commitment devices. The other is make
yourself intrinsically less akratic with regard to that goal, for
instance by somehow re-wiring your reward circuitry to make its curve more
exponential and less hyperbolic. Meditation might be one way to achieve
this, since it’s said that certain kinds of meditation increase willpower.

On Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM, Alexander Schwarz miro23@gmail.com wrote:

What I liked about this insight is that it gives me a handle. It’s not
"This is akrasia so I’ll use a commitment device" but “I see the underlying
mechanism, so I can try to change the mindset and address the cause.”

Alex