Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

I don’t know if you are guilty of the p-word, but I was thrilled to discover that humans are not the only ones to do it:

Behaviorists developed an animal model of procrastination with implications for human work habits.  When they trained a pigeon to press a lever for food and required it to press a high, fixed number of times before getting the food, it pecked slowly at the beginning of each series as if it were putting off the hard work it had to do.  The scientists found that they could get rid of this slowdown by making the rewards more frequent, or by spacing them randomly. (115)

Mo Willems’s Pigeon

Even better, there may be an evolutionary advantage:

Procrastination has a long evolutionary history—even pigeons do it.  Why should that be?  Part of the reason is that procrastination is sometimes advantageous.  Ancient Egyptians had two hieroglyphs that have been translated as “procrastinate.”  One meant harmful laziness in completing an important task, such as tilling the fields at the appropriate time in the Nile flood cycle.  The other hieroglyph denoted the useful habit of avoiding unnecessary work and impulsive effort. (117)

from Alice Flaherty’s The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain

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