National Procrastination Week

National Procrastination Week, (March 1st – 7th), has arrived and I’m already creating a list in my head of things I’m going to put off this week. After first hearing about this holiday, my first impression was that I should take the week off. Then, I got to thinking maybe there is more to this holiday then procrastinating; maybe it’s about educating and training employees how to be more proactive and punctual.

After a little online research about the topic, I was crushed, my week off was tossed in the trash quicker than my last pay raise. It looks like it might be time to motivate the troops and see what we can do to stop procrastination.

First, we need to identify exactly what makes a procrastinator. An online article at, Procrastination: Ten Things To Know by Hara Estroff Marano, states 10 things about procrastination.

1. Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.

2. It's not trivial, although as a culture we don't take it seriously as a problem. It represents a profound problem of self-regulation.

3. Procrastination is not a problem of time management or of planning.

4. Procrastinators are made not born.

5. Procrastination predicts higher levels of consumption of alcohol among those people who drink.

6. Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, "I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow." Or "I work best under pressure." But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure.

7. Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don't take a lot of commitment on their part. Checking e-mail is almost perfect for this purpose. They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure.

8. There's more than one flavor of procrastination. People procrastinate for different reasons. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators:

  • arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
  • avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
  • decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

9. There are big costs to procrastination. Health is one. Just over the course of a single academic term, procrastinating college students had such evidence of compromised immune systems as more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal problems. And they had insomnia. In addition, procrastination has a high cost to others as well as oneself; it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto others, who become resentful. Procrastination destroys teamwork in the workplace and private relationships.

10. Procrastinators can change their behavior—but doing so consumes a lot of psychic energy. And it doesn't necessarily mean one feels transformed internally. It can be done with highly structured cognitive behavioral therapy.

What are the costs associated with procrastination?

CC Holland blogged about the Staggering Cost of Procrastination; he states a recent study by research firm Basex puts the “cost of unnecessary interruptions” in terms of lost productivity and innovation at a shocking $650 billion.

If these unnecessary interruptions are costing companies so much what are they doing to combat this pandemic? Maybe it’s time we quit procrastinating and create policy to help fight the problem.

By: Joseph Dustin