November 15, 2010
It’s Never Too Late to Stop Procrastinating
What are you thinking of putting off until tomorrow? What projects have you started but can’t seem to finish? What task on your “to do” list keeps rolling over from week to week?
Procrastination may be one of your biggest energy drainers, yet we think it somehow serves a purpose to make life a little more pleasant, by avoiding something we don’t want to do. But instead it adds stress, disorganization, failure and guilt. And the motto of “just do it” may not be the best solution. Other problems procrastination can cause include: missed deadlines, lost opportunities, tardiness, unnecessary expenses and even health and medical problems.
By first understanding and recognizing your own reasons for procrastinating, you can then develop strategies to overcome them. Here are six common causes that stem from the habit of procrastination and suggestions for dealing with them:
Cause of Procrastination
|Too Big: Feeling like a project is too massive and complex to complete||Break task into small pieces; “bite off what you can chew” for today.|
|Indecision: You can’t make up your mind about what to do||Identify what other information you need or what will help you make a decision.|
|Lack of Interest: The task seems boring and tiring, or perhaps was assigned to you||Take it on at your peak to maximize your energy.|
|Distraction, disorganization or poor Time Management||Clear your environment. Block out a specific amount of time. List by importance or due date or smallest to largest task.|
|Fear of Failure: Lack of self confidence, or inability to handle the task||Focus on your strengths and the end result. Remind yourself of how good the completion will feel.|
|Perfectionism: Delaying because you want things to be perfect||Relax your expectations of how you feel things “should” be. Set a deadline|
One of the many benefits of overcoming your avoidance habits includes a sense of energy and enthusiasm that completing the task will trigger. There is a release of endorphins in the brain, causing the experience of a natural high. We all know how great checking an item off our “to do” list feels! However, chronic procrastination may be a symptom of a serious underlying problem, such as depression, addiction or an attention disorder. These individuals frequently do not understand why they cannot seem to “get it together,” and can become resigned to a life of struggle, frustration and underachievement. Seeking professional help and support can help individuals focus on the real problems in order to overcome the procrastination behavior.
If you or someone you love needs help, contact Centerstone at 888-291- HELP (4357) or visit www.centerstone.org.
If you are in crisis, call Centerstone’s 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Hotline at 800-681-7444.
Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, has provided a wide range of mental health and addiction services to people of all ages for more than 50 years. Through more than 60 facilities and 170 partnership locations across Middle Tennessee, Centerstone serves more than 50,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors each year. Centerstone is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). For more information about Centerstone, please call 888-291-4357 or explore our website: centerstone.org.
About Susan Gillpatrick, MEd, LPC, CTS
Susan Gillpatrick, Centerstone Crisis Management Specialist, primarily works in the field with clients in critical incident response situations, and in Centerstone’s wellness trainings and presentations. She is also responsible for planning and implementing marketing and growth strategies for Centerstone’s Crisis Management Strategies.
Ms. Gillpatrick is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Trauma Specialist, Certified Workplace Conflict Mediator, and Mental Health Service Provider in the state of Tennessee and a National Certified Counselor. She is also a member the American Counseling Association, the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists, the Tennessee Mental Health Counseling Association, and the Middle Tennessee Employee Assistance Professionals Association. She is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences, and has had numerous articles published. She received her Master of Education degree in Human Development Counseling from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.