Last week, we asked our readers a few questions about procrastination: how long it takes them to wake up on a typical morning, how close to the deadline they finish computing their taxes, and so on.
The basic question was, are there different types of procrastinators, or if you put off one type of activity, are you more likely to put off another? The results suggest there is some truth to both notions. Let’s first look at the evidence that procrastination in one realm is associated procrastination in another. This chart compares sleep habits with tax preparation habits:
It does indeed appear that people who press the snooze button for longer than 10 minutes are more likely to turn in their tax forms later. People who put off getting up in the morning are more likely than those who get up right away to turn in their taxes less than a month before they are due. Conversely, early risers are more likely to complete their returns with more than a month to spare.
But does this habit of sleeping late predict other sorts of procrastination? What about finishing important papers in college? Here’s a chart comparing current sleeping patterns with college procrastination patterns:
There is a trend towards late sleepers turning in their college papers late, but it doesn’t attain significance. However, this chart compares current sleeping patterns with recalled college habits, perhaps decades old in some cases. What about sleeping in college? We asked another question about that: what portion of a normal night’s sleep did you get the night before a paper was due?
Here we see the most dramatic relationship. Those who put off finishing their papers were the same ones who didn’t get much sleep the night before the papers were due. And what about our final question, where we asked how respondents organized their books? We could find no relationship between organization patterns and procrastination patterns.