With about a quarter of the population guilty of being chronic procrastinators, the problem has reached pandemic levels, a University of Calgary psychologist argues in his recent book, the Procrastination Equation.
Impulsiveness is the most common character trait associated with procrastination, and it is the temptations provided by computers that are the chief contemporary culprits, says Piers Steel. “It’s almost like having a casino, a strip club and a games room all in the same place. It’s all right beside you. The second you have an inkling or a feeling, a wavering or a tendency, you can indulge in it instantly,” he told the Canadian Press. “For some people, this means not getting a degree. Or certainly not living up to their potential about what type of mark they got, what type of job they could get into.”
In addition to choosing short term desires, over long term goals, Steel says low confidence and boring tasks are also principle reasons why people procrastinate. Among Steel’s tips to improve productivity are to turn off email notifiers and cell phones.