The "I'll-do-it-later" Syndrome - Releases Research On Procrastination

Queendom's study on procrastination reveals that laziness may not be the only excuse for engaging in this time-wasting habit.

MONTREAL, CANADA (MARKETWIRE) -- November 25, 2011, a pioneer in online personality, career, and IQ assessments, didn't waste any time to release the results of their Procrastination Test. Their findings not only reveal the most common areas where people are likely to procrastinate, but also uncover surprising reasons why putting things off doesn't necessarily indicate that we're just plain lazy.

It would be a misconception to state the procrastinators don't get anything done. They do - eventually. In fact, history is full of famous procrastinators who achieved great things. In his book "The Procrastination Equation", procrastination and motivation researcher/author Piers Steel reveals a surprising list of high-achieving lollygaggers. Architectural designer Frank Lloyd Wright sketched the blueprints of a project 3 hours before his client arrived. Author Margaret Atwood would get started on manuscripts at 3PM, after spending the entire morning and early afternoon procrastinating. A quick Google search will also drop names of accomplished procrastinators, including Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, Robert Redford, and Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci.

"When people engage in a certain 'bad' habit, we sometimes make the mistake of using superficial explanations or judgments," explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of the company. "Bosses, teachers, or family members will assume that procrastinators put things off because they are simply lazy, all-around low achievers, or simply don't care. Research studies, including our own, reveal that there are other underlying reasons why many people avoid doing things."

In an effort to uncover these other reasons, collected data from 1,655 test-takers for their Procrastination Test. Their results reveal that the most common reasons that top procrastinators put things off is a result of a lack of motivation and a low tolerance for frustration. And that noble excuse of perfectionism that some employees use for handing in an assignment late? Queendom's research reveals the same results as other studies - that procrastinating as a result of wanting to make something perfect is actually something found more in those who generally score fairly low on procrastination, when and if they put something off. The most common area that people, both chronic and occasional procrastinators, delay relates to health and well-being, like putting off a visit to the doctor.

Gender comparisons indicate that women are slightly more likely to procrastinate on issues related to their health (score of 47 for women, 44 for men on a scale from 0 to 100). Women also tend to procrastinate more than men because of perfectionism (57 vs. 52) and low tolerance for frustration (58 vs. 54). Surprisingly, age analyses reveal that older age groups (25 and older) are slightly more likely to procrastinate than younger age groups, although the younger cohorts are more likely to suffer from a lack of motivation when they choose to put things off.

Queendom's data has also revealed that certain mental health issues, like depression and attention deficit problems, can lead to procrastination. Depressed individuals are more likely to procrastinate on health matters, for reasons related to low frustration tolerance and perfectionism. Those who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder put things off in all three life spheres assessed on the procrastination test, namely household chores (score of 43 for ADD people vs. 35 for non-ADD), relationships (43 vs. 38), and work/school (45 vs. 37). Reasons for procrastination for the ADD sub-sample include a lack of motivation (57 vs. 49), underdeveloped organization skills (47 vs. 40), low self-confidence (48 vs. 43), and low tolerance for frustration (45 vs. 39).

"Procrastination can have its benefits, in the sense that you allow yourself more time to plan sufficiently, to let ideas simmer and to relax a little rather than constantly stressing over getting things done. However, if someone puts things off on a consistent basis, to the point where their personal or professional lives are impacted, then this is when it's become a serious problem."

For those who have made procrastination a habit, offers a few tips:

  • Add an element of fun to undesirable tasks. Got something really annoying or just plain boring to do? Try to find a way to make it more enjoyable. Put on your favorite CD while you're sweeping, dusting, and tidying up. Study in a park or in some other appealing (and quiet) environment. This can take the pain out of having to do some particularly unpleasant tasks.
  • Nip health issues in the bud. If you're the type of person who puts off getting a check-up because you're afraid that you'll hear bad news, think of it this way: even if your doctor does find a problem, chances are that the diagnoses would have been a lot worse if you had waited to have yourself checked out. In fact, by promptly visiting your doctor, you may turn a potentially serious problem into a minor one.
  • Take projects one step at a time. If you have a rather large and formidable task to do, like writing a term paper, break it up into smaller chunks. Think only of completing those smaller portions of the job. For example, if you are having trouble getting started, you can devote a short time to reading one research article. The next day you can take notes and brainstorm, and maybe write an outline. The day after you can sit down several times for half an hour each time to write one paragraph. Little by little, you'll start chipping away at what seemed to be a huge task. Each small step you complete will not only improve your morale, but you might find yourself becoming energized and doing more than you had anticipated.
  • Got inspiration? Display motivational posters or messages to remind you about what you are working towards, whether it's completing a major project or losing weight. If you find yourself getting discouraged, use these reminders as inspiration to keep you focused.
  • Give yourself rewards for jobs completed. Take yourself out to lunch if you complete the first draft of your paper or clean the garage. Buy yourself flowers, take a hot bath, watch your favorite TV show, or go out with friends. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself incentives, as long as you take the incentive after you have done what you set out to do. This will reinforce the general sense of well-being that comes with completing tasks.

Those who wish to take the Procrastination Test can go to:

About is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically-validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

About Psychtests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts. The company's research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., President
Psychtests AIM Inc.