. . . But then we started catching up on TV programs we'd missed.Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
Calgary professor Piers Steel showed that the percentage of chronic procrastinators has grown from about 5 percent in 1978 to 26 percent in 2007. (Other researchers have put more recent numbers at around 20 percent, but it’s clear the problem is on the rise.)
So what's going on?
Part of the reason may have to do with technology, Steel hypothesized. There’s so much to do online, and so many different media at our fingertips, that putting off until tomorrow (and the day after) what we could do today is almost natural. He estimated that new technologies like email and mobile phones cost the U.S. about $70 billion in lost productivity a year.
Indeed, The Telegraph reported that a survey by Webtrate showed that 60 percent of respondents who looked at email or a social media ping in the middle of work forgot what they were thinking about. Email and social media took away an hour of productivity for about 36 percent of survey takers, and 16 percent lost more than an hour.
But there may be more to it than that. A new study on twins published in Psychological Science has found there may be a genetic link; the siblings in the study tended to have similar self-reported levels of procrastination. Meanwhile, another study in Current Psychology argues that those who are more likely to leave things up to chance have a propensity to wait until the last minute (or even later).
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