Do tomorrow what you can do today

procrastination 2

Every time the same thing happens and a recurrent question come to my mind: ” Why do I always end up starting thinking about my assignments one week (if not less) before the deadline???”. No matter how many time, after submitting the assignments at the last minute, I said to my(stressed) self: “That’s it, next semester I will begin them well (well) in advance…”

So, my question today is Why do I procrastinate even if I know it is not good?

According to Ferrai, Johnson and McCown there are 4 main cognitive distortions that lead to academic procrastination:

  1. Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks
  2. Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
  3. Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete
  4. Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project

Well, in my case all of the apply.

We might think that it is because of the task but according to a study by Shu Ayelet Gneezy procrastination is not limited to unpleasant tasks but it concerns positive activities that even have direct benefits. This is showed with gift vouchers, for example, that have a long expiry date consumers will be less likely to redeem them, an imminent deadline will, on the other hand, be more likely to make consumers use their voucher on time.

The study suggests that company needs to think carefully about they promotional offers if they have a long span of time since consumer will like the fact of a longer period of time to benefit from the offer but they will be less likely to respond. What company could do is to send reminders to customers few days before expiring that might work since the shorter time will give them a sense of scarcity and make them more likely to respond.

That just reminder that I have a gift voucher from last Christmas to use before the end of the year!!!


procrastination 4


Ferrai, Johnson and McCown:

Suzanne B. Shu, Ayelet Gneezy (2010) Procrastination of Enjoyable Experiences. Journal of Marketing Research: October 2010, Vol. 47, No. 5, pp. 933-944:


3 thoughts on “Do tomorrow what you can do today

  1. To some extent procrastination can be changed, it’s just a negative habit. I ever bought a book, which teach us how to manage ourselves and prevent procrastinate things in life. it’s not easy, but the book revealed that as soon as you want to procrastinate, you should do it immediately. I am still trying to achieve it all the time.

    And when the gift vouchers have long expiry time, some consumers may doubt the value of the vouchers, in other words, they may think maybe the value exist in general time, and the vouchers just a practice to attract buying. In addition, another negative impact is that customers might forget to use it, so even for the sellers is not positive marketing strategy.

  2. Hi.
    In my case, all of the cognitive distortions could not apply to me, because my situation is much worse than you. My reason of the academic procrastination is that I am too lazy and used to the consequences that will occurred by the procrastination.
    Additionally, I have tons of expired voucher. It is just too difficult for me to remember the expired date of them. For example, the last year I bought a pair of glasses, the store gave me a voucher for a pair of free glasses, but my favourite model is out of stock, so I decided to use it later. Sadly, it just expired and I got nothing. I do agree with people always forgot to use the vouchers or too lazy to use them if the expired date is too far away.

  3. I believe this is due to temporal discounting, a small reward now may seem preferable to a larger reward much further down the road. Most people would take £50 now over £55 in 2 weeks time. This can be applied to procrastination, as it seems easier to do something in the future.Interestingly this is effected by age and income. Lower income adults tend to show higher levels of temporal discounting so if you thing your bad for it now, make sure you get yourself a good job.

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