I FIND it worrisome that many of my peers consider late nights until early mornings as the time they become most productive.

More and more friends in my Facebook chatbox are marked “online” when I stay up until 4 a.m. and the line between “because it is finals week” and “because I was lazy” is becoming hazier by the minute.

I am not safe either, I fail to meet deadlines.

To be sure, it would be easy to say that we (Generation Y) can do tasks as early as the time that they were given to us. But, just like every other senior out there, we all just go to a point when we “snap” and decide to give ourselves a break. We deserve one, at least for the three years of stressful academic and extra-curricular activities (not to mention little extras like weight and love problems) we had to endure.

Having been in a state of “being too prepared” for long, the body will always look for opportunities for rest and leisure. This is especially the case when the body has “experienced” such an activity, and it will want to experience it as often as it could, given the amount of time it spent without it.

“There’s a fundamental tension, in humans and other animals, between seizing available rewards in the present, and being patient for rewards in the future,” economist David Laibson said in a Harvard paper last 2006. “It’s radically important. People very robustly want instant gratification right now, and want to be patient in the future.”

Having gained them with the hours given to prepare for papers, I may have shifted from goodie-two-shoes into a couch potato. I admit that I am a procrastinator, but I am not the only one out there.

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Apparently, a lot of us are in Facebook.

“Procrastinators, who are often unmotivated to get certain tasks done until the last minute, are more likely to be addicted to Facebook than those who are bored, and are also more likely to suffer from Facebook withdrawal,” Erica Sherman of the University of Massachusetts Boston said in her paper last 2011.

Piers Steel of the University of Calgary also said in his research paper published in 2007 that 80 to 95 percent of college students in the United States engage in procrastination, approximately 75 percent consider themselves procrastinators, and almost 50 percent procrastinate consistently and problematically.

Steel, who is dedicated to researching about the subject, even made a “Procrastination Formula” that indicates one’s “willingness” to do tasks—U = EV/ID.

In the formula, the desirability of the task (U) is a product of one’s confidence of success (E) and the value gained by its completion (V), divided by the product of the immediacy and availability of the task (I) and one’s sensitivity to delay or distraction (D). A high result indicates more willingness to do the said activity.

However, the “opposite” (should such a concept exist) is also problematic. In a research by David Rosenbaum and his colleagues, “Pre-Crastination” is becoming a prevalent phenomenon worldwide and is not giving solutions either.

Rosenbaum and his colleagues were surprised to find out that students are now starting to prefer to do everything in advance even if it meant expending more energy, explaining that they “wanted to get the task[s] done as quickly as possible.”

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Given this definition, I began wondering if I was really hardworking or was simply looking for an avenue to rest “earlier.” Was I really being productive, or was I really just reverse-lazy?

The desire of Rosenbaum’s respondents to lighten their mental load was stronger than their determination to reduce physical effort, which Cory Potts, a co-researcher, said may be just as conflicting as procrastinating due to its capability to reduce performance.

“Imagine if you devote a lot of energy towards completing a task immediately, and then [a client] calls and interrupts you. Is your attention going to go to the phone, or is it still going to be on the task?” he said.

The growing need for Filipinos to use Facebook may also stem from the gratification it provides. Researchers Richard Basilisco and Kyung Jin Cha from Korea said in their paper that Filipinos are motivated to use Facebook because of four main reasons.

First, Filipinos understand that Facebook will be able to help them communicate better with friends and connect them to strangers, as well as to promote themselves and their businesses. Second, Filipinos see Facebook as a source of information for their daily needs. Another motivation is to meet and connect with other people in the virtual world, and the last is that Filipinos see Facebook as a source of enjoyment.

These may explain the amount of time people dedicate to use Facebook for their personal affairs than to do their duties.

And despite the large number of “successfully-prayed-for papers” and “miraculously high marks” to be discussed over pulutan and a few bottles of beer, the rate of people procrastinating and pre-crastinating is at an alarming rate.

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There is a need to discover the kind of foundation as to why people have tendencies to both do tasks in the last minute, or do tasks too early than necessary.


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