Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

donjoe comments on How to Beat Procrastination - Less Wrong

156 Post author: lukeprog 05 February 2011 06:49PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (148)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: donjoe 12 July 2011 06:36:15AM 0 points [-]

"but most people have the most energy during a period starting a few hours after they wake up and lasting 4 hours"

There's no way this is true. Mentally, you're much slower in the morning than the evening. In fact, for optimal intellectual functioning, your body temperature has to be at its highest, not at its lowest and thus you're most productive in the last 4 hours before going to bed rather than the first after rising. I've had other programmer colleagues confirm this to me: how they feel twice as productive at the end of the day than at the beginning and my own experience is the same.

So your statement is simply the opposite of how reality works or there's more human diversity out there than either of us realizes. :)

Comment author: Procrastinus 29 August 2011 03:52:33AM 4 points [-]

And you might want to read the book that you are critiquing. I understand that this is inevitable to proceed impulsively in this day and age, but you will find that everything (yes, everything) is backed up by what most find as an annoyingly long series of endnotes. Here is the part that you should have read:

You want to tackle it when you tend to have the most zip, and that when that is depends upon your circadian rhythm. Some of us are morning larks, relentlessly chipper and active early in the morning, filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours. Others are night owls, slow starters whose energy levels peak later in the day. Night owls are more likely to be procrastinators, with a chronobiology best suited for after- hours; forcing themselves into an unnatural schedule, they gulp down caffeine in the morning in order to wake up, and alcohol in the evening to wind down.

And here are the cites:

Díaz-Morales, J., Ferrari, J., & Cohen, J. (2008). Indecision and avoidant procrastination: The role of morningness-eveningness and time perspective in chronic delay lifestyles. Journal of General Psycholology, 135(3), 228–240. Digdon, N., & Howell, A. (2008). College students who have an eveningness preference report lower self-control and greater procrastination. Chronobiology international, 25(6), 1029. Ferrari, J. R., Harriott, J. S., Evans, L., Lecik-Michna, D. M., & Wenger, J. M. (1997). Exploring the time preferences of procrastinators: Night or day, which is the one? European Journal of Personality, 11(3), 187–196. Hess, B., Sherman, M. F., & Goodman, M. (2000). Eveningness predicts academic procrastination: The mediating role of neuroticism. Journal of Social Behavior and& Personality, 15(5), 61–74. Klein, S. (2009). The secret pulse of time: Making sense of life’s scarcest commodity. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Comment author: donjoe 28 September 2011 08:12:15AM -2 points [-]

While I don't have subscriptions to all those journals, so I can't check exactly what those studies proved and didn't prove, all I can say is that this example: "filling gyms during in the pre-dawn hours" tells me we're still not talking about the same thing, i.e. mental energy. I think there's a big difference between feeling physically energetic on one hand and feeling mentally focussed and creative on the other.

Also, while I find it easy to accept that there are two kinds of people as mentioned above, I will still be looking for explicit proof that "most people" are "morning larks", like the original quote said.

Thanks for your patience.

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 12 July 2011 07:01:21AM 2 points [-]

There is some degree of physiological variation among humans in this area. Researchers refer to this subject as chronotypes.