After 10 years of investigation, a Canadian researcher has published a study on procrastination that found that 95 percent of us procrastinate at least occasionally, and 15 percent to 20 percent do it consistently and problematically.
Dr. Piers Steel of the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of concluded that self-help books that attribute procrastination to perfectionism have it wrong.
"In fact, perfectionists actually procrastinate less, but they worry about it more," Steel told the Calgary Sun. "Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves and less expectancy that they can actually complete a task."
Steel's study, "The Nature of Procrastination: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review of Quintessential Self-Regulatory Failure," was published in the recent edition of the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.
The costs of procrastinating go well beyond poor work performance, especially for those who delay filing their taxes or planning their retirement.
Procrastinators "tend to be poor performers overall and live their lives less healthy and make less money," Steel said. "But procrastinators do about 11 times the work in the final day of a project than most people do in an average day."
Are you a procrastinator? You can find out by visiting Steel's website to take two anonymous, computer-scored tests complete with feedback about what you can do to ameliorate your procrastinating tendencies.
We'd tell you more about the tests, but we decided to take them next week.
Sources: The Canoe Network, Procrastination Central