Beeminder Forum

WHY do you procrastinate?

I stumbled upon this cute little questionnaire tool made by Manasvinik, the woman behind and felt like sharing:

So, why do you procrastinate (presumably)?

  • Low Expectancy
  • Lack of Value
  • Long Delay
  • High Impulsiveness

0 voters


I’ve found procrastination to be the opposite of flow. As such the lack of the required conditions for flow lead to procrastination. Wikipedia has a good summary

Flow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state:

  • One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task.[15]
  • The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state.[15]
  • One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one’s ability to complete the task at hand.[15]

I’m usually more vulnerable on the third condition. Difficult tasks seem more difficult than they really are. At which point I try to break them down.


I answered the poll (“high impulsiveness”) before I did the quiz (got “lack of value”). But I think I answered high on the inclusiveness questions too.

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*Tangent about the importance of clarity.

Piers Steel’s framework, that this is based on, (MEVID, i.e. Motivation = ExpectancyValue/(InclusivenessDelay)) is valuable but doesn’t address clarity. I think clarity of purpose and clarity of process are vitally important and are among the first things I address with coaching clients.

Steel does acknowledges the value of clarity (re GTD & replying re his equation) and we can consider clarity to be part of Value (it makes the value more salient).

But in practice I find it helpful to separate out clarity. And to consider both clarity of purpose and clarity of action.


Another good quote that describes without mentioning procrastination

To do a job effectively, one must set priorities. Too many people let their “in” basket set the priorities. On any given day, unimportant but interesting trivia pass through an office; one must not permit these to monopolize his time. The human tendency is to while away time with unimportant matters that do not require mental effort or energy. Since they can be easily resolved, they give a false sense of accomplishment. The manager must exert self-discipline to ensure that his energy is focused where it is truly needed.

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That reminds me a lot of what this woman said about the brain basically knowing two states: auto-pilot and emergency break. And it loves to be in the former.