They celebrate the new year in June (to wait and see if it's worth celebrating), Christmas-shop in January (to avoid the crowds) and charge members a 5 percent "early penalty" if dues are paid on time.

"Procrastinate Now" is a favored slogan of the Procrastinators Club of America, says club president Les Waas, who claims "procrastination is good for your health.

"Procrastinators lead more relaxed lives. Those who have learned the art of procrastination are no longer rushing through life. If you're always rushing, you get to the end of your life sooner and you die younger.

"Then they call you 'the late so and so,'" Waas notes. "We feel it's better to be called 'late' while you're alive."

A group of Philadelphia lawyers, accounts and communications professionals started the club in 1956 as a reaction to the strict deadlines they were forced to meet in their work, says Waas, an advertising agency president.

"We wanted to schedule a meeting for the sole purpose of postponing it, but the local press found out about the club and forced us to meet. Now it's an outlet for the frustrations of everyday life."

Waas has headed the club since its inception because "we haven't gotten around to holding the 1957 election yet," he says. "The steering committee meets six or eight times a year, but we're very slow to act.

"Generally the secretary hasn't yet typed the minutes of the last meeting, so we read the minutes of a meeting that was held two years ago. We feel that anything worth doing is worth putting off."

The club boasts 600,000 members worldwide -- but only 3,500 have gotten around to sending in their applications, Waas says. Only 15 to 20 percent of members are women, he says, indicating that they are probably better procrastinators than men.

Club activities have included protesting the War of 1812, holding a Chicago Fire Put-Off and petitioning NOW (the National Organization for Women) to change their name to LATER.

The Minnesota chapter, which took five years to organize, has a hotline where a member who feels the urge not to put something off can call another member and be talked out of it. The Chicago chapter, with well over 300 members, hasn't formed yet.

Procrastination can save time, Waas claims. "If you are the last one to arrive at a meeting, you'll be the only person who doesn't have to wait. And in putting off the things you don't like to do, you have more time to do the things you do like.

"There are some things we should all procrastinate about," he adds. "War is a great example."

Procrastinators can send for an application by writing the Procrastinators Club of America, 1111 Broad-Locust Bldg., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102. If you mail the application back immediately, forget it, Waas warns.

Those who take their time in sending the $10 initiation fee eventually will receive a Procrastination License, a copy of "Last Month's Newsletter," a membership card, old Christmas seals and assorted odds and ends.

And if you put off joining, Wass notes, remember that "the Procrastinators Club of America is behind you all the way."