Sure, we all put off a few unpleasant tasks. But psychologists say that some of us -- so-called trait procrastinators -- poison our happiness with chronic procrastination that costs us careers and friends. Are you a trait procrastinator? Evaluate yourself using the General Procrastination Scale created by Clarry Lay, PhD, professor of psychology at York University in Toronto.
Rate each statement as it applies to you:
1 point = extremely uncharacteristic.
2 points = moderately uncharacteristic.
3 points = neutral.
4 points = moderately characteristic.
5 points = extremely characteristic.
1) I often find myself performing tasks I intended to do days earlier.
2) I often miss concerts, sporting events, or the like, because I don't get around to buying tickets on time.
3) When planning a party, I make the necessary arrangements well in advance.
4) When it is time to get up in the morning, I most often get right out of bed.
5) A letter may sit for days after I write it before mailing it.
6) I generally return phone calls promptly.
7) I find that even jobs that require nothing more than sitting down and doing them, seldom get done for days.
8) I usually make decisions as soon as possible.
9) I generally delay before starting on work I have to do.
10) When traveling, I usually have to rush in preparing to arrive at the airport or station at the appropriate time.
11) When preparing to go out, I am seldom caught having to do something at the last minute.
12) In preparing for some deadline, I often waste time by doing other things.
13) If a bill for a small amount comes, I pay it right away.
14) I usually return an "RSVP" request very shortly after receiving the invitation.
15) I often have a task finished sooner than necessary.
16) I always seem to end up shopping for birthday or Christmas gifts at the last minute.
17) I usually buy even an essential item at the last minute.
18) I usually accomplish all the things I plan to do in a day.
19) I am continually saying, "I'll do it tomorrow."
20) I usually take care of all the tasks I have to do before I settle down and relax for the evening.
The General Procrastination Scale is a research tool and not intended to be used for diagnosis. You can, however, get a general sense of your tendency to procrastinate. Add together your scores from questions 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, and 19. If the total comes to between 40 and 50 points, procrastination may be limiting your success and happiness.