Thursday, 1 October 2009

A Study in Procrastination

This is a post I started writing quite a while ago and rather than carry it over to the new blog, I decided to quickly just publish it, since it's a) heavily wow-related and b) the only half-way finished draft lined up for UM.

As a student, you often have multiple deadlines at a time. You obtain mild satisfaction from telling other people how you have 4 assignments, 3 presentations, a couple of posters, a dissertation on the life of duckweed on some lake during the two weeks either side of the summer solstice, all of which are due about this time tomorrow. And you haven't been able to start anything on this list because you've had other stuff to catch up on, you had to work 232 hours last week to pay for rent AND food, and you were required to babysit the twins because your mother is a hamster and your sister has just been diagnosed with testicular cancer. And that's not even mentioning the seven exams you have next week, all spread over the course of two-and-a-half days. You're a poor downtrodden bastard who drew the short straw in every deal throughout history, and your lecturers, every member of the opposite sex, the forces of evolution and the universe in general absolutely hate you and conspire against you to make your life the sort of experience trauma surgeons have nightmares about.

The more discerning audience may end up asking tricky questions, with the inevitable result that they find out that you've had at least a month to work on all your assignments, your presentation briefs were given out in July and of course you've know your dissertation topic since the end of last year. If said audience attempts to make some smart remark like "why didn't you start earlier?" then they're obviously not privy to the fundamental rules of procrastination that govern our generation (I can't remember what the designation of this generation is, but I personally like to refer to it as 'Generation XXL').

Rule 1: Chance of Procrastination is Related to Time Left Before Deadline
In fact the relationship between these two quantities of the form P = a*XXXX(t)+c
where P is the chance that procrastination will occur at any given time set aside for a given task
t is the time remaining until the deadline (in some unspecified unit of time)
a and c are arbitrary constants greater than zero
and XXXX was a carefully calculated, eerily accurate formula that has been lost to modernity because the researchers ran out of coffee

Rule Two: Procrastination is Easy: There's Always Other Stuff To Do
Let's take a look at a WoW player (viz. WoW addict), and how they might go about doing an essay:
10:53: "man, that was a late raid last night. Didn't get to bed until 3, no wonder I woke up late. Well, too late to go to my 11 o'clock class now. Might as well have breakfast."
11:47: "nothing on TV, might as well get dressed"
12:01: "what to do... oh hey look, this essay is due next week, better do some research."
12:02: "hmmm, could go to the library, but Google scholar will do just as well, and save me a trip, so I'll have more time to do this essay, right?"
12:04: [You have 13 new messages]
12:29: "Time for lunch!"
12:44: [ says]: "wat u up 2?"
12:58: "hmm, better check auctions and in-game mail before I start this essay"
13:02: "oh man, AV is the daily, I can farm a bit more honor, and get some gold, and we win AV all the time."
14:26: "finally won AV, hasn't been this bad in a while. Guess I'll do my dailies while I'm at it, otherwise I'll never get my epic flying mount"
15:38: "So. Hungry. Need. Food."
16:01: "Oh hey look, 'Blogger And Blood Elf' wrote a new post, better go check it out."
16:23: "THEY'RE DOING WHAT?!?!?! Time to head over to WoWInsider."
16:48: [ says]: "howz ur essay goin?"
16:49: "Oh yeah. The essay. Well, time to cook dinner soon, and then TV and raiding. Guess I'll do it tomorrow."

Rule Three:
Will finish this later.


  1. Sneaky...

    Procrastinate on Rule 3... then close the blog ;-)

  2. :D glad to know my favourite aussie and gnome is still going strong ;).