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Are you a short-term thinker?

This video explains how learners can calculate their tendency to procrastinate, based on their previous test outcomes.
In the previous step, you filled in happiness scores for four scenarios. Please keep the table with your scores at hand. We will do the calculations with some sample scores. Follow along so you can draw conclusions for your own scores. Let’s look at scenario 1. You studied really hard and it paid off. Most people would feel very happy with this. Let’s record a high score here. Now let’s add scenario 2. You planned to study, but instead you went out and did other fun things. The result is that you didn’t study. Most people would not feel really satisfied in this scenario, but they also don’t feel really dramatic about it as it was a fun night.
Let’s give it the average score of 5 for now. Scenario 3 also describes an evening. You had planned to study and you actually did so. Most people would be quite content with that, even though they missed a fun night out. Let’s give it a 7. Now we arrive at scenario 4, in which you had a lot of fun but hardly studied for an entire month. These scenarios assume that life is fair, so you failed your exams as a result. How would you feel? Most people would feel very bad. Let’s give it a score of 1.
Now we have some numbers. Let’s look at the characteristics of the scenarios. Scenario 1 is about long term, namely, a whole month. And it’s a scenario in which you have chosen to study. Scenario 2 is about the short term, namely, one night in which you chose not to study. Scenario 3 is also about just one night, but in this case, you do study. Finally, scenario 4 is about a whole month in which you did hardly any studying. What can you tell by looking at the numbers you filled in for these scenarios? First, calculate the average happiness score for both columns. In our case, the average of columns 1 and 3 is higher than the average of columns 4 and 2.
Do you have the same outcome? This means that studying leaves us with a happier feeling than not studying. The greater the difference between the two column averages, the greater your personal motivation is to study hard. But the difference in the outcomes for the short and long terms are even more telling. Calculate the difference in your scores between studying and not studying in the long term. In our case, the difference is a big gap. A 9 is very happy and a 1 is very unhappy. Now do the same for the short term. For us, the difference here is quite small. The 7 is a bit happy and 5 is a bit unhappy. There is no big gap.
Is that the same in your case? In the long term, you prefer studying a lot, but in the short term, you prefer studying just a little. And because each day is just a sequence of short term decisions, this means that studying will tend to lose out. The greater the difference between the last two calculations, the more susceptible to procrastination you probably are. With procrastination, we mean putting off things that should be done. You might be an exception. If, for you, the difference between two and three was not smaller than the difference between 1 and 4, then you might be lucky and not susceptible to short term thinking or procrastination. Above all, understanding what your tendencies are is important.
Now let’s see how planning can help you deal with it.

This video will help you to recognise your tendency to procrastinate.

Procrastination: The action of delaying or postponing things that should be done.

Use the table you have made in the previous exercise. The video explains how you can calculate your scores, indicating whether or not you are susceptible to procrastination. If the answer is yes, it is extra useful to make a planning for your studies. We will tell you more about this in next activity (“How and why to make a plan”).

Please share your scores, but above all your conclusions!

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Improving Your Study Techniques

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