Do you ever put off doing something until the last minute and then find yourself in a state of panic because things pile up? Or maybe you start to become critical because you dropped the ball yet again? You’re not the only one who feels this way. You may be one of many people who struggle with Procrastination. You procrastinate when you delay or put off completing a task until the last minute, or past your deadline. It is very common and can affect all aspects of your life, including your work, school, and relationships. All which can result in a poor quality of life.
One common misconception about procrastinators is that they are unable to manage their time effectively. While this can be true, it’s not always the case and in fact, there are often more serious issues at hand. Individuals prone to chronic procrastination may benefit more from emotional regulation and stress management than time management skills training. That’s why before you pull out the self-criticism and self-doubt, it’s important to understand the why behind your procrastination. Doing so will help you understand yourself better, develop a plan to tackle the issue, create healthier habits and or seek professional support if you need to.
Why do we procrastinate?
From time to time, we all procrastinate. In a high-stress society, temporarily distracting oneself from stress and unpleasant tasks could even be a helpful coping mechanism. In other words, people engage in procrastination because it temporarily makes them feel good.
However, there is a downside that makes procrastination troublesome, it limits a person’s productivity and causes them to feel low about themselves. Some people procrastinate so much that they are unable to complete essential daily tasks. All of which can lead to poor life choices and eventually poor mental health outcomes.
Procrastination is not a mental health diagnosis in and of itself, although it can be a symptom of ADHD, depression, or anxiety. It can also add more stress to someone who already struggles with a mental health issue.
Other causes of procrastination included
- Task is not aligned with our values
- Feeling emotionally exhausted
- Fear of not performing well
- Experiencing decision fatigue (brain becomes fatigued and ability to make decisions becomes worse after making many decisions)
- The pressure to perform
- Setting unrealistic expectations
How to overcome procrastination?
Is there hope? Yes, there are many things one can do to tackle procrastination and here are a few tips that you can start to implement by yourself of with the support of someone:
Address what is causing the procrastination
Ask someone to help you stay on track with important tasks. Regular check-in on the progress of tasks will help you stay motivated.
Start with a small and easy step.
Eliminate any distractions
Reward yourself after completing small steps within the task
Rephrase your internal dialogue
The five takeaways about procrastination are:
- Laziness is not the cause of procrastination.
- It is the result of our inability to manage negative feelings about the task.
- It is not a time-management issue but rather an emotional issue.
- It can be a result of low self-esteem, self-doubt, or anxiety.
- Forgive yourself for past procrastination and be gentler with the language and thoughts you use about yourself when it comes to completing the task.
Take home message: If you are one of many people who procrastinate before you criticize yourself and submit to a lifelong journey of blame and shame, try taking a more proactive approach. Use the above-mentioned tips to understand your why’s and create a plan of action, and or speak to someone that can help you.
At Cedarway Therapy we specialize in providing psychologist oakville based services as well as psychotherapy services in Mississauga and all across the GTA. If you are interested in working with us or need to speak to a professional, feel free to contact us today!