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What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the deliberate avoidance or delaying of necessary tasks, despite potential negative consequences. Procrastination can occur for a variety of reasons including not wanting to undertake a task or believing yourself incapable of completing the task. It can occur as a result of low self-confidence, anxiety or a lack of motivation. Procrastination is also associated with perfectionism, with perfectionistic individuals sometimes preferring not to do a task than to risk doing it badly or having negative feedback from others. Procrastination is commonly evident from the teenage years onwards.
If you are struggling with procrastination, you may find it difficult to perform tasks such as completing work or school tasks, performing chores and meeting deadlines. You may have difficulties in motivation and in realistically estimating how much time is available for tasks. Often procrastination will be associated with rumination, so you may find yourself focusing on negative thoughts.
Chronic procrastination can have negative impacts on an individual’s work or school life, relationships and wellbeing. Procrastination can cause tension and resentment with others, result in missing important deadlines or in increasing personal stress. Individuals who routines procrastinate may experience guilt or shame and procrastination is associated with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
How common is procrastination?
Procrastination is extremely common with 95% of individuals displaying procrastination to some extent. Around 20% of the population exhibit persistent habitual procrastination.
What is the treatment for procrastination?
CBT for procrastination can help to identify and change patterns of procrastination. Once procrastination patterns have been identified, the thoughts and beliefs behind this can be explored and challenged. Working with a practitioner, different practical ideas for breaking procrastination habits can then be explored.
This could include:
Identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs.
Practicing different strategies such as the Pomodoro technique
Learning strategies to reduce unwanted behaviour and increase more desirable behaviours