THE PROBLEM OF PROCRASTINATION

THE PROBLEM OF PROCRASTINATION

By

Dr. Ann Barnes and Dr. Jennie Ozan

Perhaps with the holidays ending you have been thinking about cleaning out your closets or organizing the office. You are in luck! January is National Organization Month. People often use the cold months of January and February to focus on becoming more organized.

Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves in a cycle of procrastination, berating themselves, and believing that they are just “lazy”. However, twenty percent of Americans identify themselves as procrastinators. Procrastination can be a serious impediment to feeling successful in life. If you are a procrastinator you may not benefit from a weekly planner, as failure to follow your planner may only leave you feeling defeated.

Some procrastinators may acknowledge enjoying the thrill of pulling off a big job at the last minute. Others admit to avoiding the tasks due to their fear of failure or success. A student may prefer to be thought of as “stupid” or “lazy” than to risk writing a report that does not live up to their parents’ standards. Others may be struggling with the process of decision making. For example, a worker may think they need to clean their office but cannot begin as the thought of starting the task becomes overwhelming as they contemplate that file drawers need cleaning as well. Thus, the need for perfection may win out over the accomplishment of a job well done. Check out the Just a Thought page to read Excellence vs Perfection?

Procrastination can be a learned response to growing up in a harsh, authoritarian, and controlling family and may be a way to rebel. Young procrastinators may turn to friends for support who sympathize with their excuses. As an adult, a procrastinator may use drugs or alcohol to sooth the pain of unrealized goals. Procrastination may also be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, including obsessive-compulsive disorder or ADD/ADHD.

 

Below are a few questions to ask yourself if you think you may have a serious procrastination problem:

 

Do you have excessive anxiety and worry?

Are you unable to control your worry?

Do you have problems concentrating, maintaining focus, or does your mind go blank?

Do you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep?

Do you distract your self with easy task in order to feel accomplished and avoid what you need to be doing?

Do you begin one task and find yourself distracted by another, never completing the first task?

Do you avoid tasks that require sustained mental concentration?

Do you often lose things?

Do you have trouble throwing things away because you may believe you may use them in the future?

Do you have difficulty giving items away that you do not use but continue holding onto them because you are concerned that getting rid of them would be wasteful as you spent money on them or that letting go of it would mean a loss of a memory associated with them?

Does your problem with procrastination impede your work success or annoy your colleagues or family members?

 

If you believe that your problem is beyond the assistance of a daily reminder on your calendar you may want to seek professional help. Chronic procrastinating is a symptom that can be helped. Cognitive-behavioral techniques can be learned to move you from procrastination to satisfying performance. If you want to schedule an appointment with a licensed clinical psychologist at Barnes & Klatt P.C. please call.847.981.9200.

 

The information provided in the website is intended to give general introduction to the services offered by Barnes & Klatt, P.C. and is not to be used as a substitute for assessment or treatment by a medical professional.

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