Procrastination is the postponing of more important activities for less important ones.

The Procrastinatory Cognitions Inventory (PCI) thoughts associated with procrastination. The higher one scores on the PCI, the more mostly negative thoughts associated with procrastinations occur, such as "Why can’t I just get started?".

The PCI has 18 items, each scored between 0 (not at all) and 4 (all the time), thus the summed score on this scale runs from 0 to 72. Students in the study by Stainton et al. (2000) scored on average around 29 points.

The second author is the creator of the original procrastination trait scale, which is also available in this PsyToolkit library.

Run the demo

It seems that the PCI be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Stainton et al., 2000).


This is a simple scale question with 18 items. Note that some of the questions focus on study. You might want to reformulate these questions to something else if you wish to use it in non-student populations.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: freq
- {score=0} not at all
- {score=1} sometimes
- {score=2} moderately often
- {score=3} often
- {score=4} all of the time

l: pci
t: scale freq
o: random
o: width 50%
q: Listed below are a variety of thoughts that sometimes pop into
 people's heads. Please read each thought and indicate how
 frequently, if at all, you think the thought has occurred to you <b>over
 the past two weeks.</b>
- Why can’t I do what I should be doing.
- I need to start earlier.
- I should be more responsible.
- I should be doing more studying.
- No matter how much I try, I still put things off.
- People expect me to work and study more.
- Why can’t I just get started.
- I know I’m behind but I can catch up.
- I’m behind in my studies this time, but next time it will be different.
- I’m letting myself down.
- This is not how I want to be.
- It would be great if everything in my life were done on time.
- I’m such a procrastinator, I’ll never reach my goals.
- I need deadlines to get me going.
- I can turn it in late.
- I really don’t like studying.
- Why can’t I finish things that I start.
- Why didn’t I start earlier.

l: score
t: set
- sum $pci

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your score on the PCI is {$score}.<br>
The scale has a possible score from 0 to 72.<br>
The average score among students is around 29 points.<br>
You can read more about the scale via the link presented when you
click continue.


  • Stainton, M., Lay, C. H., & Flett, G. L. (2000). Trait procrastinators and behavior/trait-specific cognitions. Journal of social behavior and personality, 15, 297-312.