New root of procrastination found

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: April 20th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The adage “Never put off until tomorrow what you can easily do today” is a wise recommendation to procrastinators everywhere, especially if they’re putting off their taxes. But exactly what is it that makes us want to postpone until tomorrow, the next day and even the day after that?

Researchers at the University of Calgary are seizing the moment to learn more about this common human tendency. A recent study indicates that those who procrastinate have little confidence in their ability to accomplish their tasks.

This lack of self-confidence is now thought to be the main reason for procrastination, not perfectionism, which until recently was believed to be the perpetrator of procrastination. An estimated twenty percent of the general population procrastinates, putting off work they think would be prudent to begin immediately.

But procrastinators of the world, take heart… plenty of famous people have made a name for themselves despite their proclivity for procrastination.

Take Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to his artwork and inventions, he dabbled in almost every field. Yet according to researchers, he never finished a project on time; his famed painting, the Mona Lisa, took twenty years to complete.

The root of his procrastination likely was distractibility. As a man of many talents, he found it difficult to stick to just one project at a time.

He didn’t have anything like the I-R-S to keep him on task, or he might have finished the Mona Lisa sooner. But she probably wouldn’t be smiling.