Saturday, January 13, 2007

Putting Off The Ritz


From Science Daily:



January 10, 2007

We're Sorry This Is Late ... We Really Meant To Post It Sooner: Research Into Procrastination Shows Surprising Findings

Science Daily — A University of Calgary professor in the Haskayne School of Business has recently published his magnum opus on the subject of procrastination -- and it's only taken him 10 years.

Joking aside, Dr. Piers Steel is probably the world's foremost expert on the subject of putting off until tomorrow what should be done today. His comprehensive analysis of procrastination research, published in the recent edition of the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin, presents some surprising conclusions on the subject, such as:

* Most people's New Year's resolutions are doomed to failure
* Most self-help books have it completely wrong when they say perfectionism is at the root of procrastination, and
* Procrastination can be explained by a single mathematical equation

"Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task," Steel says. "Perfectionism is not the culprit. In fact, perfectionists actually procrastinate less, but they worry about it more."

Other predictors of procrastination include: task aversiveness, impulsiveness, distractibility, and how much a person is motivated to achieve. Not all delays can be considered procrastination; the key is that a person must believe it would be better to start working on given tasks immediately, but still not start.

It's estimated that about 15-20 per cent of the general population are procrastinators. And the costs of procrastinating can add up well beyond poor work performance, especially for those who delay filing their taxes or planning their retirement.



Read the rest here.

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