Are You a Procrastinator?

Do you put off doing things you ought to be progressing?

© iStockphoto/sjlocke

As with many self-sabotaging behaviors, the first step in stopping procrastinating is to recognize that you're doing it.

But this isn't always as straightforward as it sounds!

Many procrastinators persuade themselves that they have good reasons for delaying getting on with what they have to do. And once you've got into a "victim" mindset (which many procrastinators do), you may not realize that what you're doing is procrastinating, and that it's up to you to overcome it.

So take our self-test below and find out whether or not you are a procrastinator!

Are You a Procrastinator?

Instructions:

For each statement, click the button in the column that most applies to rate yourself by indicating the extent to which each statement is characteristic or uncharacteristic of you. The scale ranges from (1) 'Not like me at all' to (5) 'Very like me.' Note that (3) on the scale is neutral i.e. the statement is neither characteristic nor uncharacteristic of you. Click the 'Calculate My Total' button to add up your score and check your result using the scoring table underneath.

   15 Statements to Answer

Not
like me
at all
 Not
 like
me
Neither
like me
or not
 Like
me
Very
like
me
1 I often find myself performing tasks that I had intended to do days before.
2 When planning a meeting, I make the necessary arrangements well in advance.
3 I generally return emails and phone calls promptly.
4 I find that jobs often don't get done for days, even when they require little else except sitting down and doing them.
5 Once I have the information I need, I usually make decisions as soon as possible.
6 When I have something difficult to do, I tell myself that it's better to wait to do it until I'm feeling more inspired.
7 I usually have to rush to complete tasks on time.
8 I usually accomplish all the things I plan to do in a day.
9 I usually start a task I'm given shortly after I'm given it.
10 When deadlines are approaching, I often waste time by doing other things.
11 I often have a task finished sooner than necessary.
12 When preparing for a meeting, I am seldom caught having to do something at the last minute.
13 I often delay starting tasks that I have to do.
14 When faced with a huge task, I figure out what the first step is so that I can get going.
15 I frequently say "I'll do it tomorrow".
Calculate My Total
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
46-75 Good news! You're not a systematic procrastinator! If you do, however, occasionally catch yourself procrastinating over something, follow the link below for tips on dealing with this.
31-45 You're a mild procrastinator. You need to understand better why you procrastinate – there are several reasons, for it, and more than one may apply to you. And you need to learn the steps you can take to stop doing it. Click the link below for more information.
15-30 You're a procrastinator, and it's not something to be proud of. It means that you miss deadlines and waste a lot of time. As a result, your boss is not getting from you what you're capable of delivering, and he or she is probably very frustrated with this. Follow the link below to to find out why you're doing this, and how you can stop it.

Source: This set of questions is based on the Procrastination Scale created by Professor Clarry Lay of York University, Canada, and is presented with his kind permission. The questions are for illustrative purposes only, and no validation work has been conducted on them.

Procrastination is as tempting as it is harmful. If you have recognized a tendency to procrastinate within yourself, you need to figure out why. Perhaps you are afraid of failing? (Or perhaps you're actually afraid of success!)

Once you know why you procrastinate then you can plan to get out of this stressful habit. Reward yourself for getting jobs done, and remind yourself regularly of the serious consequences of not doing those tasks you love to avoid! See our article on Overcoming Procrastination   to learn how to kick this self-sabotaging habit!

Key Points

Procrastination is stressful, is highly damaging to your productivity – and is often deeply frustrating for your colleagues to deal with. The first step in beating it is to recognize that you're doing it, and this self-test will show you whether you are.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Click here for more, subscribe to our free newsletter, or become a member for just $1.

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Comments (18)
  • Tina wrote This month
    I am a mild procrastinator! Well I knew it!
  • Midgie wrote Over a month ago
    Hi DenisB,
    Welcome to the Club as well. It's one thing to motivate ourselves to overcome procrastination, it's another thing to motivate others!

    As a manager / team leader, it is important to understand the motivation of your team to understand what will get them going. You might find ideas from the overcoming procrastination article (I mentioned that in the previous posting, and provided the link). Additionally, you might look at some of our tools related to team management and motivation to give you some more ideas.

    If there is anything I can help you with, just let me know.
    Midgie
  • Midgie wrote Over a month ago
    Hi ray_klein,
    Welcome to the Club. I know you will find lots of resources and ideas that can help you professionally and personally.

    When we are promoted, we do indeed have more things to do and the key is about prioritizing tasks and getting them done. I know one thing that works for me is to create (just for me) deadlines as to when I want a particular task completed. For example, later this morning, I am going to write the first draft of a newsletter in one hour. I will then focus for that hour and not do anything else.

    Have you seen our article Overcoming Procrastination - http://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/article/newHTE_96.php - which contains many ideas and suggestions to help overcome procrastination.

    Regarding your English, no worries that English is not your first language. Many of our members do not have English as their first language. You can still contribute by asking questions and offering your insights and experiences! So, hope to see more of you around.

    Hope that helps. If there is anything else I can help with, just let me know.
    Midgie
  • DenisB wrote Over a month ago
    I am also procrastinator, and now a lot of solution how to manage it, but most of us also procrastinate, but how to let know it to the staff? how to inspire them to start think and solve this issue?
  • ray_klein wrote Over a month ago
    I just joined mindtools.com and that´s the subject that made me do it, because I am a procrastinator, and yes, it´s quite stressful.
    And I do agree with dtrainor, about a task not being challenging leading to procrastination.
    It all worked well to me until I was made director, and all of a sudden I have much more things to do and this bad habit of mine is really getting in the way, which is why I decided that it´s time to fight it.
    *english is not my first language, so I´m sorry if I hurt the grammar at some point.
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    If you have more pearls of wisdom John-Paulk, please don't hesitate to share them!

    Cheers
    Yolandé
  • John_Paulk wrote Over a month ago
    [quote="Yolande":3j2afn4z]What a great rule...thanks for sharing that with us. It is indeed so that the feeling of procrastinating can never feel like the feeling of achievement.

    Kind regards
    Yolandé

    Thanks Yolande. Glad to share.
  • ladyb wrote Over a month ago
    I have a friend who is very similar fatima1. Whenever we talk about it we examine her fear. We believe that at the root of her procrastinating about personal things is fear - both of success and of failure. Because there is no one really holding her accountable except herself (she's the boss of her personal life!) there is no real motivation to make changes or try new things so she goes year after year stuck in the same routine because she's afraid of taking a risk. She's afraid that things might not be as great or that she won't be successful if she tries something new. I think for my friend, she's so successful at work that she won't accept anything but that level of success in her personal life. Do you think that is happening with you too?

    Brynn
  • fatima1 wrote Over a month ago
    I suffer from split a personality!! In work I am focused prioritise and undetake tasks as and when required, understanding that there is an impact on others if the delay is based on my desire to or not to do something. I will take my time with tasks that I am unfamilar with an allocate more time to them.

    In my personal live I am a procastinator...not doubt about it!! its the should I /shouldn't I and yes everything can wait for tomorrow and that turns into next year!!
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    What a great rule...thanks for sharing that with us. It is indeed so that the feeling of procrastinating can never feel like the feeling of achievement.

    Kind regards
    Yolandé
Show all comments

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