Questions for ‘Procrastination may hurt your health — but you can change that’  

a young lady sitting at a desk and ignoring the study materials and laptop spread out in front of her, instead she is using her phone

When facing a hard or unpleasant task, procrastinators may find ways to stay busy doing just about anything else.

Phynart Studio/E+/Getty Images Plus

To accompany ‘Procrastination may hurt your health — but you can change that’  


Before Reading:

  1. What do you think causes people to sometimes put off doing things they know they need to do?
  2. How does waiting until the last minute to do something make you feel? How does it affect how well you do the task?

During Reading:

  1. What does it mean to procrastinate?
  2. Why is hard to study the health effects of procrastinating? Give at least two reasons described in the story.
  3. In a study of university students, what health outcomes did Fred Johansson and Alexander Rozental link to procrastination?
  4. What does it mean for a study to be “observational”? What can scientists learn from this type of study? What can they not say for sure from this type of study?
  5. How common is chronic procrastination thought to be among adults? In this context, what does “chronic” mean?
  6. What did Joseph Ferrari’s research show about people working under pressure?
  7. What are three personality traits suggested to be connected to procrastination? What is one trait that procrastinators do NOT have, according to Ferrari?
  8. What is the significance of Rozental’s conclusion that procrastination is a pattern of behavior?
  9. What is a shame spiral? What has Fuschia Sirois found can help break out of a shame spiral?

After Reading:

  1. What does it mean to say that whether procrastination harms health is a “chicken-and-egg” question? How can this make it hard to design studies to test the question?
  2. In the story, Fuschia Sirois comments that possible health consequences of procrastination haven’t received much attention. Design a project to help raise awareness among your schoolmates about the health issues linked to procrastination. Write down at least two or three main points you think your peers should know. How would you want to deliver the message? Some examples might be a poster to put up at school, a TikTok or an Instagram reel.