What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of putting something off that you really should be doing. Procrastination is very common! Most people procrastinate occasionally. We’ve all postponed tasks until the last minute, like writing an assignment the night before it is due. Procrastination can be annoying, but is usually fairly harmless. However, chronic procrastination can become a source of constant distress for some people. Procrastinating habitually can be a source of anxiety, low mood, stress, tension, guilt, and/ or shame.
Why do we procrastinate?
Often we procrastinate tasks that we expect to find boring or difficult. Doing more interesting activities (e.g., watching TV, scrolling through Instagram, online shopping) can provide a temporary relief from that discomfort we expect. However, the key word there is temporary. Often our feelings of guilt will continue to build, despite attempting to distract ourselves. Procrastination can occur because of several reasons, such as:
Is procrastination treatable?
Yes! While procrastination can often feel chronic and simply a part of your personality, the research shows it is treatable. In fact, people can change their behaviours and these changes can be maintained over long periods of time. Treatment for procrastination basically aims to bridge the gap between your intent to complete a task and taking action to complete the task.
How is procrastination best treated?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, has shown to be the most effective treatment for procrastination. This therapy has three key approaches for procrastination.
1. Develop your self-regulation skills.: This involves developing work habits that prevent procrastination. Some examples of strategies are:
2. Build your sense of self-efficacy: Remember, self-efficacy in the sense that you feel you can achieve the task.
3. Organise social support: One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to tell people you are working towards this goal! This helps you feel that you are not alone, and that there are lots of people who believe in you.
Is this something my Psychologist could help me with?
Definitely! Procrastination is very common, but this doesn’t mean it has to stick with us for life. Your Psychologist can help you tailor these strategies to best suit your needs. Feel free to Contact Us for more information.
For further reading:
Rozental, A., Bennett, S., Forsström, D., Ebert, D. D., Shafran, R., Andersson, G., & Carlbring, P. (2018). Targeting Procrastination Using Psychological Treatments: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1588. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01588
van Eerde, W., & Klingsieck, K.B., (2018) Overcoming Procrastination? A Meta Analysis of Intervention Studies, Educational Research Review, 25, 73-85 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.edurev.2018.09.002