Found in 4 comments on Hacker News
trott · 2016-04-17 · Original thread
It's a very common problem, perhaps especially among programmers: PG talked about primarily working on a computer that had no Internet, RMS talked about using only a computer with no browser, and limited graphical capabilities.

There's a book written about the science behind motivation called The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel:

The following has a pretty good summary:

visakanv · 2015-01-31 · Original thread
Also good seems to be The Procrastination Equation [1]– the key insight is that there are (at least!) 4 variables involved in why we don't do things that we say we want to do:

* Expectancy, which is your own estimation of how likely you are to complete a task

* Value, which is how important something is to you

* Impulsiveness, determined by the environment that you're in

* Delay, which is the amount of time between whatever you're doing, and the consequence or implication of the thing you're doing.

Getting things done requires dealing with all of the above variables. "Screw Motivation, You Need Discipline" essentially addresses Impulsiveness- it says to be less impulsive, by cultivating good habits. Sure, but that's just 25% of the battle.


darnton · 2011-07-11 · Original thread
The best thing I've read on this topic is The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel (

He concludes that different people procrastinate for different reasons and that those reasons boil down to:

- learned helplessness (you have a low expectation of success)

- boredom (you don't value the task), and

- poor impulse control.

He then gives specific advice for working out which applies to you and then for dealing with each of these, which is far more useful than either saying, "Just do it," or telling an impossible-to-apply just-so story about mammoths and frontal lobes.

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