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Q: procrastination ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: procrastination
Category: Science
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 03 Jan 2003 17:41 PST
Expires: 02 Feb 2003 17:41 PST
Question ID: 137210
Research on how much individuals procrastinate. Are there any
patterns? Are there cost associated? Summary form if possible.

Request for Question Clarification by answerguru-ga on 03 Jan 2003 17:56 PST
Hi qpet-ga,

Just a couple questions:

1. By "costs", are you implying that you are considering
procrastination in a work environment? If not, it would be helpful if
you could expand on what you mean by this :)

2. I can provide several academic research resources on this topic, in
fact I have already rounded up a few, but since many of these studies
are proprietary information it is against Google Answers policy to
post them on this forum. Would reference information suffice in these



Clarification of Question by qpet-ga on 03 Jan 2003 20:31 PST
Any cost. For example procrastination of going to the doctor may
result in a worse condition.(the cost of procrastination is not the
main thing I am after, just added value)
Reference might help. I like simple answeres, for ex.: on average how
often do people contemplate a task before they move on it. Or : the
cost might be that they feel guilty spending a lot of time before
completing a task. Or: how many issues do individuals "push " infront
of them at any one time? Is procrastination linked to avoidance, fear
ect.? I hope this helps.
Good luck

Request for Question Clarification by jbf777-ga on 04 Jan 2003 23:29 PST
Hey folks -
Qpet-ga, I know I've done a couple of this type of question for you
recently, so I think I know the feel of what you're going for.  I just
started working on it [nothing has been posted on this question since
the day before yesterday], but realized Answerguru-ga had posted a
clarifying question to it.  Answerguru, I don't want to steal this
question from you -- if you've got the data, go for it...  if you want
me to do it, I've only got a little more time to spend on it and it'll
be done.  Let me know.
GA Researcher
Subject: Re: procrastination
Answered By: czh-ga on 04 Jan 2003 23:49 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello qpet-ga,

Procrastination has been the subject of social commentary from the
beginning of history. It has been looked at as a moral failing,
incompetence, laziness. It's been viewed as a mental disorder or
organizational incompetence. Most of the research conducted on it
relates to procrastination in academic settings. Problems with
procrastination in the business world have led to a sizable industry
in books, articles, workshops, videos and other products for dealing
with procrastination in the workplace.

The cost of procrastination is significant but standard measures have
not yet been invented. These costs can be divided into two main

1) Personal/Individual Costs – impact on mental, physical, financial,
social, emotional well-being. Individuals who procrastinate suffer
significant costs in terms of feelings of competence, self-esteem, and
social approbation. They also have to cope with the impact of the
opportuniy costs of not taking action in a timely manner. The easiest
illustration of this is failure to save or invest. But not taking
action also impact on many other kinds of missed opportunities related
to jobs, relationships, learning and experience. Time lost to
procrastination can never be regained. The costs of these
passed/missed opportunities can only be guessed.

2) Public/Social Costs – economic, political, environmental, social
well-being for organizations, social institutions, states, humanity.
Procrastination by individuals impacts organizations as well. The
opportunities lost are one aspect. Having to spend time to counsel the
employee, make sure that the postponed work gets covered, and managing
organizational strains and conflicts also is a drain on the
organization. A whole industry of time management courses, workshops,
day-timers and other tools has grown up to help deal with these

A special variety of organizational procrastination and associated
costs has to do with the behavior of institutions as a whole. This may
be a matter of organizational policy or the obstructionist behavior of
an individual. Frequently it's difficult to tell whether the issue is
procrastination or bad decision-making. The costs associated with this
type of procrastination are measured by the yardstick of history.

I’ve sifted through hundreds of sites and collected a representative
sampling of what’s available for getting a better understanding of
procrastination and its costs. I’ve divided my search results into
categories that will help you pursue whatever aspect of this topic is
of interest to you. I hope this meets your needs, but please don’t
hesitate to ask for clarification on any of it that needs further

Good luck with your r explorations.


Carleton University, Ottawa -- Procrastination Research Group
This is a great starting site for exploring current research on
procrastination. There is an extensive selection of links for papers,
bibliographies, conferences, workshops and related links.
A Brief History of Procrastination
Procrastination or the Sin and Folly of Depending on Future Time
Procrastination and You
This resource site claims that 15-20% of the population are chronic
procrastinators. It offers a wide variety of resources for exploring
the topic.
Definition(s) of Procrastination
Tomorrow... Tomorrow: Why We Procrastinate
10 point review of behaviors and three styles of procrastinators:
  Arousal types or thrill-seekers: They wait to the last minute for
the euphoric rush.
  Avoiders:These are people who may be avoiding fear of failure or
even fear of success. In either case they are very concerned with what
others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack
effort than ability.
  Decisional procrastinators: Those who cannot make a decision. Not
making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the
outcome of events.
Procrastination: Habit or Disorder?
Emotional Wellness -- The Danger in Delay: Combat Procrastination!
This article reviews research findings about the emotional aspects of
Evaluate yourself using the General Procrastination Scale created by
Clarry Lay, PhD, professor of psychology at York University in
Procrastination Test
40 questions, 20-25 min
Work In Progress. -- Coming Soon -- : )
Read This Paper Later: Procrastination with Time-Consistent
This 32 page paper with extensive bibliography examines the
perspective of procrastination and time as an exhaustible resource.
Also offers a selection of general resources on procrastination.
Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried

Saving for Retirement 
This short article summarizes the results of the 2002 Employee Benefit
Research Institute Retirement Confidence Survey and highlights the
consequences of procrastinating about retirement planning.
The Cost of Procrastination
Procrastination costs money. It simply doesn't pay to put off your
financial goals
In 20 years, the difference between the value of our two investors'
accounts will be over $40,000! Our prudent friend will have over three
times as much money as our procrastinator.
Procrastination on Long-Term Projects
This is a 43-page research paper on evaluating the true costs of
procrastination for extended projects. It highlights the costs of
projects that are started but never finished.
Procrastination in Preparing for Retirement
This is a 32-page detailed paper on the consequences of
procrastination in preparing for retirement.
Procrastination, Procrastination, Personality and Performance
This is a 13-page review of a study measuring techniques to alter
student behavior.
This is a short slide presentation of "Academic procrastination: Costs
to health and well-being" presented at the APA conference, August 22,
2002 (Chicago). The page has links to other extensive resources.
The Price of Procrastination 
Looking for a great way to waste money? Consider sending bills in
late, ignoring your important paperwork, and putting off your
financial planning. If that doesn't appeal to you, then consider the
15-minute solution. After all, how long does it take to put something
in the mail?
Procrastinators always finish last, even in health
Short article summarizing research findings showing the health and
academic failure costs of procrastination.
Procrastination can pay in booking flights
This article shows that occasionally there are benefits to

Procrastinate. (The CPA Manager)
This article reviews the emotional issues underlying procrastination
and offers concrete action steps for overcoming them.
This Web site is dedicated to people dealing with a variety of mental
and emotional problems. The page on procrastination provides an
extensive library of books for self-help.,Ph.D._741.html
Procrastination: Putting Off Today What You Can Do Tomorrow
This is a short article for a business audience offering concrete
techniques for self-motivation to overcome procrastination.
Procrastination in College Students Is a Marker for Unhealthy
Behaviors, Study Indicates
College students who procrastinate in their academic work are also
likely to have unhealthy sleep, diet, and exercise patterns.
What is Procrastination Costing You?
Costs and Benefits of Waiting to Invest 
This is a site that helps people think about the issues involved in
procrastinating about financial planning and lets them try out various
How to beat procrastination and get your life in order
Time Management
This is a collection of links on dealing with time management and can
help some people who have trouble with procrastination.

Procrastination In the Workplace
This site provides a quick checklist for the employer and the employee
to identify whether the problem is truly procrastination. It also
provides a long list of books on procrastination.
What price procrastination?
July 1, 1998
Five ways to slay the delay dragon
1. Vocalize time's tyranny
2. Find the real drivers of delay
3. Speak the right language
4. Expand your "clever reasons" repertoire 
5. Dramatize the delay cost
Slow Company – How Procrastination and Delay Improve the Quality of
Knowledge, Collaboration and Understanding
This is a 23 page paper that takes a contrarian view on the urgency of
speedy action.
United Methodism experiences procrastination in a variety of ways. A
pastor who, in spite of overwhelming pressure and evidence of the need
to relocate a church, insists on "getting a consensus". Meanwhile, the
church loses an opportunity to purchase a site where its ministry
could thrive and grow. In the site selected for relocation, because
the pastor procrastinated, a new nondenominational church has been
established and is now doing very well.


This is a selection of articles that shows how organizations and
institutions can procrastinate about policy issues and how this type
of procrastination can have immense consequences. Sometimes it is
difficult to determine whether the cause of inactivity was
procrastination or ineffective/bad decision-making.
George McClellan
In November, 1861 McClellan, who was only 34 years old, was made
commander in chief of the Union Army.
Frustrated by McClellan unwillingness to attack, Abraham Lincoln
recalled him to to Washington with the words: "My dear McClellan: If
you don't want to use the Army I should like to borrow it for a
while." On 7th November Lincoln removed McClellan from all commands
and replaced him with Ambrose Burnside.
Sitzfleisch as Policy:  Nikola Pasic and the Consequences of
This article explores whether the procrastination of Serbian Prime
Minister Nikola Pasic contributed to the assassination of Archduke
Ferdinand in Sarajevo in the summer of 1914 and the launch of World
War I.
Lessons from History’s Famous Procrastinators
Can He Fix It?
And yet Bush's cautious management style sometimes leads to
procrastination. Critics say he waits too long, resisting change until
the last possible moment.
Israeli Conservatism - Jewish Privilege
Meir Amor March 2001
The political system is doing its own thing. It is the politics of
muddling through - the politics of procrastination.
Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 07:44 GMT 
Japan moves to shrink public sector
Despite the pain that the long-overdue reforms will cause, the public
seems to approve.
Mr Koizumi's apparent willingness to bite the bullet after years of
procrastination by a succession of charisma-free leaders of his
Liberal Democratic Party translates into popularity ratings
approaching 80%.
At issue is the response to the current economic crisis by government,
business firms, and the Japanese public overall. The government, first
of all, has continued to procrastinate on harsh policy choices that
will be painful. The consequences of such procrastination triggered
the crisis of 1997 to 1998. Specifically, the government postponed
cleaning up the bad debts of financial institutions, which mounted
shortly after the collapse of the "bubble" economy.
South Korea: The price of procrastination: chaebol crisis only gets
by Hae Won Choi
The Asian Wall Street Journal  10/29/01
USDA Failed to Act Against Plant's Listeria, Inspector Says 
Listeria blamed for eight deaths since July would have been found
sooner at a Pennsylvania poultry plant if the government had taken
more forceful action, a federal inspector said yesterday.
President concedes ICC failed to act fast enough
International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray conceded on
Wednesday that the sport's administrators had failed to act fast
enough to tackle match-fixing.
U.S. Failed to Act on Warnings in '98 of a Plane Attack
U.S. Failed to Act on Warnings in '98 of a Plane Attack
National Press Club
“We institutionalise procrastination. The inevitable consequence is
that the problems accumulate and intensify.”
Near the end of the year, Treasury Department staffers discovered the
State Department's obstructions, and they prepared the following
damning indictment, in which they asserted the State Department was
"guilty not only of gross procrastination and willful failure to act,
but even of willful attempts to prevent action from being taken to
rescue Jews from Hitler." A condensed version of the report was
presented to the President by Secretary of the Treasury Henry
Morgenthau, Jr. on January 16, 1944.

procrastination costs
procrastination research
procrastination psychology
procrastination consequences
procrastination health
procrastination decision making
failed because of procrastination
"failed to act"
procrastination lost opportunities

Request for Answer Clarification by qpet-ga on 05 Jan 2003 10:41 PST
Hi czh-ga,
You have found a lot of information that covers most of what I was
after. In fact it is so much information that I would be happy if you
could summarize it for me.(I'll be happy to compensate you for your
time)You have done a good job in your answer, I just would like to get
the bottom line of allthe other sitesas well. (please include sources
when you quote)Can you find anything on the underlying
biological/genetic/neurophisiology paterns of procrastination?
Reason I am looking for this is that I suspect there is a
evoloutionary angle,
(maybe conservation of energy)Thank you for your consideration!


Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 06 Jan 2003 13:33 PST
Hello again,

I'm glad you found the information useful. Thanks also for your
generous tip. I'll be glad to summarize the findings. Some of the
articles/papers seemed to find a basis for including procrastination
as one of the obsessive/compulsive or depressive mental disorders.
I'll see what I can pull together as an answer or as the most likely
open issues. It was fascinating trying to get a handle on the cost of
procrastination. My final conclusion was that it's incalculable
because there is no way of measuring all the possible alternative
scenarios, all the paths not taken, all the opportunities passed up.

I'll get back to you shortly.

Request for Answer Clarification by qpet-ga on 06 Jan 2003 13:55 PST
Thank you for your efforts. As far as cost is involved, I understand it cannot
be quantified in dollars and cents- a short list of ares of cost will do.
until later,

Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 06 Jan 2003 22:40 PST
Hello again,

The research conducted on procrastination shows that it is a complex
problem that may have multiple causes that are not clearly understood.
The description of procrastinating behavior can be classified as 1)
arousal oriented (thrill seeking), 2) avoidance focused (fear of
failure or fear of success – generally fear of consequences) and 3)
decision avoidance (inability/unwillingness to take responsibility).

All of these descriptions may have physiological, neurological, and
psychological components. Many of the negative behaviors associated
with procrastination are included in the description of various mental
disorders, including: anxiety, depression, oppositional behavior,
passive aggressive personality, obsessive compulsive disorders,
attention deficit disorder, etc. There are some indications that some
of these disorders have genetic, physiological and neurological
etiology. These disorders have a large behavioral component and it’s
not clear how much influence is brought about by situational and
environmental influences. Cognitive therapy and anti-depressants are a
frequent combination for dealing with these disorders.

The most helpful articles for considering these issues for
procrastination are:
Procrastination: Habit or Disorder?
Procrastination May Be Genetically Linked To Circadian Rhythms

Since procrastination is a complex topic, it might be most useful to
examine more specific areas where it’s impact is clearly apparent to
continue your research. Wishing you success in your explorations.


Request for Answer Clarification by qpet-ga on 07 Jan 2003 05:57 PST
I get the picture, its a complex issuse. Thank you for the summery.

Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 07 Jan 2003 06:09 PST
I look forward to working with you again.
qpet-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00

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