Chronic Procrastination: Symptoms & 12 Tips On How to Deal With It

chronic procrastination

For many people, getting things done on a daily basis can be a perpetually uphill battle. Those who suffer from chronic procrastination frequently find themselves in this position all of the time, and their lives begin to fall apart. Nonetheless, with the assistance of mental health professionals and strong support systems, it is possible to overcome chronic procrastination. Chronic procrastination has been linked to a variety of mental problems, including anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

In this article, I will inform you about what chronic procrastination is, its symptoms, and how to overcome it.

What Is Chronic Procrastination?

If you Google the term “procrastination,” you will almost certainly discover similar and nearly identical definitions across all websites. Procrastination is commonly defined as the act of deferring or failing to complete a task on time while diverting attention to lower-priority chores or activities. You’ll also discover that most of us procrastinate at some time, even if we know it’ll only make things worse. “Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator,” says Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a psychology professor and prominent specialist in the study of procrastination.

For other folks, procrastination may be situational. However, for approximately 20% of adults worldwide, procrastination is habitual and consequently chronic. Chronic task avoidance differs from typical procrastination in that it becomes a recurring and pervasive behavioral pattern that affects important life areas such as job, school, personal relationships, finances, and health, among others.

A constant sense of discomfort, followed by an inability to regulate profound emotional impulses, lies at the heart of chronic procrastination. As a result, it has become the sole means of coping. Furthermore, task avoidance can be detrimental to a person’s general well-being. The temporary respite of deferring work is short-lived and overshadowed by health issues such as stomach problems, headaches, or hypertension, as well as psychological ones such as increased stress, feelings of guilt and shame, and a poor sense of self.

Diagnoses of Mental Illness That May Influence Chronic Procrastination

While chronic procrastination is not a mental disorder, it can be an indication of other issues. Procrastination has been linked to a variety of mental problems, including anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Comprehensive knowledge of this self-destructive conduct can shed light on contributory elements that can intensify it and/or mold it into a chronic disorder.

#1. Chronic Procrastination and ADHD

Numerous studies have found a clear correlation between ADHD and chronic procrastination. Individuals with ADHD have a problem with executive functioning. According to this research, procrastination is caused by distractibility, a poor perception of time, and an inability to initiate tasks, especially when challenging.

#2. Chronic Procrastination and Anxiety

Anxiety and chronic procrastination can be linked. Anxiety and stress can exacerbate procrastination in many people. Similarly, task avoidance can result in excessive anxiety, fear, and concern. This loop can feed on itself, increasing self-doubt, lowering self-confidence, and delaying key decisions, all of which add to the worry.

#3. Chronic Procrastination & Depression

Chronic procrastination is very closely linked to depression. Depression is characterized by overpowering feelings of sadness, brooding thoughts, and a lack of energy. These symptoms make it extremely difficult for a depressed person to concentrate and begin or complete an activity.

10 Typical Symptoms of Chronic Procrastination

Procrastination is rarely beneficial, but it is not always detrimental.

Who hasn’t saved the most vexing jobs for last, or even a different day? Or squeaked in just in time for a critical date, such as filing taxes on April 14?

However, when procrastination becomes a habit in your daily life, it might start to cause complications.

A few critical indicators can assist you in identifying chronic procrastination, such as if you:

  • Have a habit of failing to meet deadlines
  • Put things off in a variety of aspects of life – not only at work but also at home and with friends
  • You procrastinate on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
  • Easily distracted
  • Feel as though it is beginning to have an impact on your relationships with close ones
  • Have difficulty admitting your procrastination to yourself or others (Perhaps you don’t precisely lie about it, but you certainly have a lot of excuses to put things off.)
  • Recognize yourself spending your time with trivial or unimportant things.
  • Feel as if the stress you have to complete is interfering with your sleep or physical wellness.
  • Can’t seem to quit putting things off, even when the repercussions are bad at school, work, or home

Tips on How to Stop Chronic Procrastination

Here are some simple ideas to help you quit procrastinating.

1. Find Out Why You’re Procrastinating

Take a step back if you feel yourself procrastinating on a task and ask yourself, “Why am I procrastinating on this assignment?” If you understand the fundamental cause, you can match it with the appropriate solution. The following are some of the most typical reasons why adults with ADHD postpone.

  • Getting motivated is difficult unless things are pressing and a deadline is approaching.
  • Negative thoughts and feelings obstruct task completion.
  • It’s difficult to get started when you don’t know how to complete the task.
  • The task appears to be tiresome and monotonous.
  • The task appears to be enormous, complex, and intimidating.

Now that you know why, you can use the following advice to help your procrastination.

2. Divide It into Little Steps

If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed by large or complex work, break it down into smaller, manageable chunks. A major project can feel like a mountain to climb. When you divide the project into little parts, the mountain appears to diminish to the size of a small hill, allowing you to work more efficiently and productively.

ADHD symptoms can sometimes make it difficult to visualize a project. It can be difficult to see how all of the pieces fit together. Request the assistance of a friend or someone you trust to help you think through and organize the steps. Just be careful not to get too caught up in the intricacies that you don’t make any progress.

Many adults with ADHD become so preoccupied with the specifics of planning that they never get around to working on the project. Planning turns into a sort of procrastination.

#3. Establish Deadlines

Create deadlines for completing each aspect of the assignment after you’ve split it down into little portions. It is simpler to achieve success when you have several little short-term goals than one enormous long-term aim. It is less intimidating and easier to stay motivated.

Reward yourself with a goodie every time you fulfill a short-term goal. Making smaller goals assists you in avoiding last-minute panics as a significant deadline approaches.

#4. Make Use of Positive Social Pressure

Having an accountability partner might help you get started on a project and stay on track. Make a vow to your partner, a friend, or a coworker. Inform them of your objectives and timetable. This modest social pressure can assist you in moving forward.

Another alternative is to collaborate on the project with another person. The social connection contributes to the project remaining stimulating and compelling.

#5. Make Boring Tasks Interesting

A dull or tiresome work does not engage the ADHD brain sufficiently to motivate you to act. If this is the cause of your procrastination, ask yourself, “How can I make this boring task interesting?” There are numerous methods for making work more engaging. Here are several examples:

  • Make it a contest with yourself. How many plates do you think you can wash in five minutes? Make use of a kitchen timer to assist you.
  • Make it more enjoyable by listening to music while you work.
  • When you’re completed, have a reward ready for you.

6. Alternate between Two Tasks

Alternate between two tasks. This can help you maintain your interest and stay focused and motivated on both jobs. Set a timer and devote equal amounts of time to each task. This is another method for making tedious jobs more enticing.

#7. Make a Minor Time Investment

It can be difficult to begin a task that appears to be large and has no end in sight. However, if you are only going to work on it for 10 minutes, it is much easier to get started. Set a timer for 10 minutes and go to work. Then, consider how you feel.

Sometimes, the first 10 minutes of exertion break through your reluctance and make you want to continue. If not, set a timer for another 10 minutes and continue working in modest increments.

#8. Keep Distractions to a Minimum

Turn off your cell phone, email, Facebook, and anything else that can distract you from starting. Also, be conscious of internal distractions that can impair your ability to concentrate.

You may tell yourself, “I’ll tackle these minor tasks first, then get to the main task.” However, these other “small things” frequently add to the procrastination cycle. You appear to be very busy and accomplish a lot, yet you are avoiding the important duty that must be completed.

9. When Training Is Required, Seek It Out

Are you putting off a task because you don’t know how to complete it? For example, research has revealed that, while students frequently postpone challenging courses due to anxiety, preparedness proved effective in minimizing such fear and procrastination.

If that’s the case, why not educate yourself? You could accomplish this by enrolling in a formal training course. You might also do this in a more informal manner, such as asking a friend to show you or watching a video on the internet.

When you know how to do something, the resistance fades, and it is simple to act.

#10. Someone Else Should Do It

It can be empowering to learn a new skill on your own. Other times, delegating to someone who already possesses the necessary expertise is okay. For example, you don’t have to learn how to fix your car. So, you can take it to a garage that has trained mechanics. You do not have to do everything yourself.

#11. Negative Thoughts Should Be Replaced

Our thoughts and feelings have enormous power. It can be simpler to take action if you talk to yourself in a pleasant and friendly manner and remind yourself of your recent triumphs. In contrast, it might be difficult to break out of the avoidance loop when you are locked in a negative mindset.
Cognitive behavioral therapy may be beneficial if you discover that negative thinking is a key contribution to your avoidance of tasks.

#12. Make Contact With Your Doctor

Inform your doctor about your procrastination issues. When used correctly, medication can be an important element of your ADHD treatment approach. Though medication cannot eliminate procrastination, it can help you focus and get started on things more easily.

Have you found this guide to chronic procrastination and how to overcome it useful? Or would you like to tell us about your procrastination experiences? Use the comment box below to share your thoughts; we love hearing from you.

Is Chronic Procrastination a Disorder?

Procrastination is frequently associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other mental health issues. While chronic procrastination is frequently a symptom, it can also be a contributing factor in continuous mental and emotional suffering.

What Is the Root Cause of Procrastination?

I believe procrastination is induced by a fear of failure or perhaps a fear of success. We postpone as a result of perfectionism, low self-esteem, or negative self-belief. As a result, we procrastinate in order to protect ourselves.

What Are the 4 Types of Procrastinators?

They say that there are four main types of avoidance archetypes, or procrastinators: the performer, the self-deprecator, the overbooker, and the novelty seeker.

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