Procrastination as the pile on the desk rises higher and higher

“By all accounts, procrastination is common, and rising (for reasons that are not yet clear).” This according to Richard B. McKenzie, Why Popcorn Costs so Much at the Movies (Copernicus Books 2008) at 217. “In 1978, the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as chronic procrastinators was 5%. In 2006, the rate was up to 28%.” As we work harder and multi-task more frenetically, do we put off more? I’ll answer that later.

McKenzie explains that present costs are unduly salient in comparison with future costs, so it is easier to postpone tasks (See my post of Nov. 17, 2008: risk aversion quantified.). Our dislike to review that marketing agreement now – the present cost – looms worse than the displeasure of clients later – the future cost. McKenzie points out that procrastination can increase stress and harm health.

But right now I can’t be bothered to apply this point to lawyers in corporations. Mañana …

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