Equation Helps Procrastinators Overcome Their Stall Tactics

You know, when you get around to it

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 8, 2008 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – The legions of those of us who "will do it later" are growing, reports the Sunday Times, but now there's a formula to figure out what chance you have of beating back your delay tactics. A Calgary University business professor claims in a new book, The Procrastination Equation, that up to 20% of the population are procrastinators—thanks in no small part to a widening variety of digital distractions. Oooh, time to check email.

Procrastinators are often thought to be perfectionists who are never satisfied with their work, or simply lazy, but the author, taking time out from online gaming, suggests that chronic procrastinators are excessively impulsive and erratic. Oh, and those college workshops that try to treat student procrastinators? Just another way to put off that midterm paper.

Students walk at the University of Illinois at Chicago. New research says procrastination is a growing problem, especially for students who have more distractions than previous generations.
Students walk at the University of Illinois at Chicago. New research says procrastination is a growing problem, especially for students who have more distractions than previous generations.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Washington University students in an on-campus lounge. New research says up to 20% of the population procrastinate and procrastination is a growing problem for students.
Washington University students in an on-campus lounge. New research says up to 20% of the population procrastinate and procrastination is a growing problem for students.   (AP Photo/Kyle Ericson)
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“The counsellors told us it was fear of success putting us off, but I have found it’s the opposite. It was fear of failure.”
- Student Chloe Hodgkinson on putting off working on her doctoral dissertation.

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