The Staggering Cost of Procrastination

Last Updated Aug 4, 2008 9:56 AM EDT

168331325_a8caf2c8c6_m.jpgThink the time you spend answering e-mail, composing IMs, and trolling Twitter doesn't have an impact? Think again. A recent study by research firm Basex puts the "cost of unnecessary interruptions" in terms of lost productivity and innovation at a shocking $650 billion. Merlin Mann blogged about the cost of the e-mail "ding!"; that little sound supposedly costs the U.S. economy $70 billion a year, according to The Guardian UK.
Big numbers are impressive, but procrastination also hits the pocket book on a small scale. In 2002, 40 per cent of Americans waited till the last minute to file their taxes -- and that procrastination cost people an average of $400.

The impact goes beyond financial pain. According to The Guardian article:

Time-wasting is not just an irritating habit. It is an affliction that ruins millions of lives and often requires therapy and other treatment for sufferers, psychologists have warned.
According to new research, one person in five now suffers from the problem so badly that their careers, relationships and health are threatened. Many researchers blame computers and mobile phones for providing too many distractions for people.
Procrastination may lead to a variety of physical and psychological effects, says the story, including depression, lowered self-esteem, and insomnia. It also indirectly affects health by discouraging visits to the dentist or doctor.

Ready to change your time-wasting ways? Consider using the dash method, learn to prioritize and delegate more effectively, and take a moment to analyze what's behind your procrastination.

And remember: You're not just doing it for yourself. You'll be doing your part to save the economy.

(image by der sich den wolf via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.