Note: it was really tempting to follow the headline up with an “I’ll post it later” statement…
Montreal-based online personality, career, and IQ assessments service Queendom.com didn’t waste any time in releasing 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 that procrastinators don’t get anything done. They do – eventually. In his book “The Procrastination Equation”, procrastination and motivation researcher/author Piers Steel reveals a surprising list of high-achieving lolly-gaggers. 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.
“When people engage in a certain ‘bad’ habit, we sometimes make the mistake of using superficial explanations or judgments,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, company president. “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, Queendom.com 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.”
Queendom.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc., a high-tech psychometric company that develops a suite of products and services centered around its extensive battery of psychological assessments. PsychTests AIM Inc. provides psychometric services and related products to therapists, students, researchers, professors, marketers and Human Resources professionals.