Are You a Procrastinator?

© iStockphoto
PaulMaguire

Are you putting off the tasks that you need to do?

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.

Your last quiz results are shown.

You last completed this quiz on , at .

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".
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
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.

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.

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.

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!)

Finding This Article Useful?

You can learn another 60 time management skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club.

Try the Club for Just $1 for Your First Month!

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. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

Rate this resource

Comments (87)
  • Over a month ago Yolande wrote
    Hi NC

    I agree with you that procrastinators generally aren't 'proud' of how they go about managing their time.
    We procrastinate for a number of reasons. One reason is definitely because we don't like doing something. Another reason may be self-sabotage. Lack of goals could be a reason. And then, as you suggested, fear of not doing something well enough is definitely a reason. If something isn't sure if they're going to do something "right", it's sometimes easier not to start!

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I hope you found some useful pointers and that we'll see you around the site often!

    Yolande
    Mind Tools Team
  • Over a month ago NC wrote
    I'm not sure many people would be 'proud' of their tendency to procrastinate...procrastinators who have found this website and taken this test clearly have a desire to discover why it is an issue and to tackle it head on. I'd argue that as much as it's frustrating for others, it's also frustrating for the person who is procrastinating. It's not always linked to laziness, as another commenter suggests below. For example, it can stem from a fear of not doing the task well.
  • Over a month ago Michele wrote
    Hi nkay,

    Every one of us procrastinates from time to time. I put off doing a task that I really don't enjoy doing. For me that is administrative tasks. I'd rather be designing or developing a new program or tool. What you describe - deferring a task until it you have sufficient time to focus on it - suggests that you are organizing your time and not procrastinating. You do plan to do the task; you are not avoiding it.

    Michele
    Mind Tools Team
View All Comments