Researchers have devised a formula for procrastinators to help them know how much chance they have of overcoming their flaws.
According to a new book, which contains the mathematical equation, procrastination is becoming a problem, courtesy computer games and personal organisers which provide endless opportunities for distraction and rescheduling.
Piers Steel, the author of the book and a business professor at Calgary University in Canada, has pulled together hundreds of studies on the art of delay. He believes that the two contradictory views commonly held about procrastinators - that they are either extra-careful or bone idle - are both wrong. Instead, they have a vice all their own.
According to Steel, chronic procrastinators are more impulsive and erratic than other people and less conscientious about attention to detail and obligations to others.
The name of his book is 'The Procrastination Equation: Today's Trouble with Tomorrow'.
According to Steel, procrastinators believe they can complete a task and also care about it. Lazy people, by contrast, are not bothered whether they can finish the job - they just do not want to do it. Both can come up with excuses such as a dog eating the homework.