Are you a procrastinator? I am, and you most likely are too. In fact, 95% of the population is prone to procrastination. Among this group, 20% are chronic procrastinators. Chronic procrastinators have an increased chance of losing their jobs, having financial problems, health problems, substance abuse, as well as, serious problems with their interpersonal relationships.
Procrastination is not a time management problem or a problem of planning; it represents a profound problem of self-regulation. It is also one of biggest fail safe ways to sabotage your life.
Procrastination Self Test:
- Have you taken an exam and failed because you did not study?
- How many times have you passed up taking a promotion test, even though you have the material to study?
- How many times have you gotten nasty grams, scolding or threats from your supervisors for late reports or missed deadlines?
- How many times do you hit the snooze button before getting out of bed?
- Do coworkers or family members think you are a slouch because you don't get your work done and they have to pick up the slack?
- Have you ever been penalized for not paying your bills on time, even if you have the money to cover them?
- Are you reading this article in lieu of doing something that needs to be done now?
- Do you do your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve?
- Have you needed an extension for filing your taxes?
- How many social events have you missed or been late for in the past year?
- Have you broken promises to your family because of procrastination?
- Has a medical or dental problem gotten worse because you procrastinated making an appointment?
- Do others consider you simply lazy?
- Have you missed opportunities to buy items or tickets that were important to you?
- Do you tell yourself that you work better or are more creative under pressure?
- Do you consistently do the smallest task first, postponing work on a bigger project later?
- Do you feel anxious when you put tasks off?
There is no scoring for this test, you should get the point. If you see that your procrastination is interfering with many aspects of your life, consider yourself a chronic procrastinator. People procrastinate for different reasons. There are three basic types of procrastinators:
- The arousal procrastinator is a thrill seeker who waits to the last minute to do things which can lead to a feeling of euphoria.
- The avoider procrastinator avoids tasks because of fear. This could be a fear of failure or success. The avoider worries about what others think about him or her. It would be better to be thought of as having a lack of effort rather than a lack of ability.
- The decisional procrastinator simply cannot make a decision, which allows the individual to be absolved from the responsibility for any and all events.
Characteristics of a True Procrastinator
It is easy to spot a real procrastinator. Real procrastinators tell themselves lies:
- I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow.
- I work best under pressure.
- This isn't important anyway.
- I am more creative when I'm under the gun.
Procrastinators frequently squander the resources they need to complete a task. They also overestimate the time they have left to do a project; while they underestimate the time it will take to complete the task. Additionally, they overestimate how motivated they will feel the next day (the next week, the next month); mistakenly thinking that succeeding at a task requires the need to be in a certain mood to tackle a project. Procrastinators actively look for distractions, and invariably find one. Checking your e-mail is a perfect distraction.
The Consequences of Procrastination
- Lost opportunities
- Missed deadlines
- Irresponsibility to others/failing to keep promises
- Lack of preparedness
- Poor performance
- Career troubles
- Unnecessary expenses and financial difficulties
- Medical and mental health problems
- Increased risk for alcohol and substance abuse
- Dissatisfaction about oneself
- Problems with family members and friends