The Impact of Procrastination


I think it is fairly obvious that procrastination works like a set of brakes when it comes to how much we achieve in a day.  The more we procrastinate, the less we get done.  It is as simple as that.


Yet, a great many people still procrastinate – either consciously of subconsciously. One would think that we would try to eliminate our tendency to procrastinate, just to get more done (after-all, we are always complaining of having too much to do, in too little time). But this seems to not be the case. So I thought more factual information regarding the impact of procrastination, might be of help.  Maybe knowing the exact, real impact of our procrastination, might spur us on to employ methods of combatting procrastination.


During Quarter 2 of 2018, I embarked on a research project to look at this exact issue (among several other, very interesting issues).  The results of the research have been staggering.  And I now have a much clearer idea of the negative impact of procrastination, on our ability to achieve everything we set out to do in any given day or week.


Firstly, survey respondents (Solopreneurs based in Europe) were asked how confident they are that they will complete everything on their Will-Do list that week. Options available to choose from were:


100% Confident

80% – 99% Confident

50% – 79% Confident

25% – 49% Confident

Less than 24% Confident


In another question, respondents were asked how likely they are to procrastinate on an important task.  Here the options were:



Very likely


Not very likely


We then superimposed the results of these two questions to see if there was any correlation. And there definitely is!  The graph below clearly shows that those respondents with higher confidence in completing everything on their Will-Do list are much less likely to procrastinate.



Those with a higher than 80% confidence, are only 51% likely to procrastinate.  Those with a confidence level of between 25% and 79% have a higher procrastination likelihood (63%) and those that are less than 24% confident that they will complete everything on their Will-Do list have a procrastination likelihood of 75%.  The conclusion we can thus reach is this:  Those that are the least confident in their ability to complete all their tasks, are a massive 23% more likely to procrastinate than those respondents on the other end of the scale.


We took the analysis a step further:  We wanted to look more into the aspect with regards to how likely people are to procrastinate.  The idea was to compare the answers of those two groups at the outer edges of the spectrum. And this is the result:



Those who are 100% confident that they will complete everything on their Will-Do list, are mostly “not very likely” to procrastinate.  On the other side of the spectrum, the differences are massive too. Asked how likely they are to procrastinate only 18% of the “100% confident” group said that they will “absolutely” procrastinate.  The “less than 24% confident” group however scored a whopping 50%.


The results speak for themselves.  The negative impact of procrastination is massive.  We can achieve so much more by procrastinating less.  And I’m not saying we should be super-heros and totally eliminate procrastination – I don’t think that is a realistic expectation.  What I am saying is this:  let’s try to just get ourselves one step down on the procrastination likelihood ladder.  If you are currently “absolutely likely” to procrastinate, work towards becoming “very likely” over the next few months.  It will help minimise the impact of procrastination on your own goals.