Posted: April 27, 2007
"Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?" More often than not, this has been my personal mantra every spring. I am not sure why this happens, other than the fact that my list of "Things to Do" grows as each day gets warmer. With the nice weather, I planned to clean out the garage, wash my windows and start my annual war with the moles that reside in my yard. But I have not got around to doing any of those chores yet.
Even on rainy days, I have a list of things that I have been wanting to do for the last few months. For instance, I told myself after the New Year that I should start working on the designs for the house I plan to build next year. I also should clean off my front porch and sift through the piles of newspaper articles, lists and other personal notes that seemed to be important when I wrote them down six months ago. Unfortunately, these are still on my "To Do" list.
A recent study conducted by Professor Piers Steel from the University of Calgary concludes that procrastination can be caused by a number of things, but a few of his theories on why people procrastinate hit home to me.
ANXIETY. Somehow the professor's research resulted with the bold assessment that people often put off the tasks that are the most stressful. He states that those of us who experience the most stress are the ones who procrastinate the most. Nothing like making life more stressful by putting things off until the last minute, huh?
DISTRACTIBILITY. "I have never let an invitation for a round of golf get in the way of a productive day." Or, I should say, "I never let a productive workday interfere with my desire to golf. " Those of us who get distracted the easiest are the most common procrastinators.
SELF-HANDICAPPING. This theory is based on the habit of giving ourselves an "out" if we never get around to starting a task. For example, I often give myself an "out" if I rationalize not making a particular sales call because "They would have said "no" anyway." By giving myself an excuse for not getting the appointment for the sales presentation, I create the procrastination.
Apparently, procrastination is becoming more popular. An estimated 26 percent of individuals surveyed admit to chronic procrastination. Luckily, there is a test you can take to determine your level of procrastination. Go to: www.procrastinus.com to participate in the online study. It supposedly takes about 20 minutes. I plan to fill out the survey tomorrow.