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Readers Respond: How to Stop Procrastinating

Responses: 15

By

Updated December 15, 2011

From the article: Stop Procrastination--Now!
When we're feeling tired and hopeless it can be very tempting to put things off until another day when we hope that we'll be feeling better. Unfortunately procrastination only serves to make things worse because now we are feeling anxious about those deadlines that keep creeping closer and closer. Setting priorities and breaking larger tasks into smaller ones are some of the tactics that people use to stop procrastinating. What has helped you avoid procrastination when you feel overwhelmed by depression?

Get a coach!

I recently hired a coach who specializes in ADD. She's reasonable $, we talk once a week and she really keeps me on track. I almost feel "normal" again. I still procrastinate, but it's getting better and she never judges me, she's very positive. Google ADD Coaches and find one yourself.
—Guest Dee

agree

I agree with Anne that reading the "keep it simple stupid" feels like a slap in the face. And it's not that we are not familiar with that phrase. There is a whole series of "Dummie" books that I would not waste my money or time on either. they even have one titled "Depression for Dummies!" The response to Anne sharing her feelings and reaction was to be told not to feel or respond that way and to just give it a try - "happy kissing". I think it would have been better to validate her feelings and to provide her with an alternate plan even as simple as just saying to use the phrase, "keep it simple".
—Guest Laurie

:(

The only damage you can't fix done by procrastination is that you'll never win back the time lost. Time you kept promising yourself you'd spend with your parents, and now it's too late. Words can't possibly explain the despair and regret you feel.
—Guest andrew

Just do it? really?

I have been told "Just do it" my whole life that is a terrible thing to tell someone who procrastinates! Read Neil Fiore's The Now Habit... He effectivley explains why this negative self talk is what makes procrastination worse, not better. Positive self talk is important and has helped me in amazing ways.
—Guest Plittle

KISS

To Guest Anne, I can only assume that you have not come across this phrase before. I urge you not to take it as a personal attack, it is merely a figure of speech and a very effective philosophy if I might add. Keeping things simple allows us to process information more effeciently, minimising that overwhelming feeling we often get from uneccessary jargon. In no way does it actually suggest that you are stupid, it is just a way of approaching material, breaking it down, making it more digestible, easier to handle and comprehensible. You ought to try it someday, happy "KISSing"!
—isabel9472

Want vs Need

In a Psychology class I took last year, I learned the difference between "I need to" and "I want to". "I need to" makes it so that it isn't a choice in our minds, we're being forced into doing it. In reality, the only things we need to do are eat, drink, and sleep. If we change things that we say we "need" to do into making them things we "want" to do, it'll make actually doing them a lot easier. It goes from being forced to being something that we're choosing to do. We're adults. We can choose when we want to do things and if we want to do things. We don't need to get that work done - we want to get that work done, so that we will get our paycheck and not lose the job.
—Guest Genevieve

KISS

I would drop the stupid part from your advise. People like me can't even read that without having a sensation like a slap. It also caused me to not pay any attention to what I read after that.
—Guest anne

Perfectionist

I have found that being a perfectionist rly stops me from getting things done and when I don't get those things done I get stressed out. It's a cycle of many ups and downs. I have found giving the task 80% helps me get things done quicker and I don't lose out on quality of my work as my 80% is the average person 100%. I hav suffered depression due to procastinating and am now battling through life trying my hardest not to fall into that trap again.
—Guest Saima

Procrastination as a symptom

I agree with Guest Celestine. Especially the second point of living in fear. If you learn to show your teeth or get a lawyer, if you stand up for your rights basically, your sky will clear and procrastination will be a thing of the past.
—Guest Hans

Lottery

While trying to think up something clever to post, I came up with this hyppthetical suggestion. 3 hats (or bags or envelopes or shoes) filled with little folded pieces of paper. One for things you really don't want to do. The second for the things you're pretty sure won't suck as bad as the first things. And the last lot for rewards (snacks, games, book, whatever). Now that I've read the idea I think I just might try this. Later. If I can get the motivation to make my lists. (Maybe I should add a 4th group for lists that need listed)
—Guest Guest

Go With It

To Guest Nancy, I feel your pain. For me, albeit I possess an official clinical label of bi-polar, I find it most useful to really go with my feelings. This is contrary to most liberated independent modern peoples' view of 'freedom' and equivocal quality of life, however, I find no other option, really. I do choose to raise my dog and will attempt this philosophy with my new baby, but that's somewhat another concept..called Contiuum Concept by Liedoff. Point being, for me anyways, that when I do allow my feelings, emotions, mind, to all go south when the ego just can't keep up any illusion of ok-ness anymore, I find I recover much much faster, and with many more valuable gems gleaned from down deep in the dark recesses of those scary places of the soul. Often referred to as failure, and terrifying to others who may be more comfortable with you by their side in the comfort zone, understandably, the main hurdle for me is just this: doing what I need to to stay sane & walk the line
—nikolyn

Don't worry about it.

You'll do whatever you have to. What doesn't get done, doesn't get done. You're alive, you're kind. Just do what you can, when you can, and don't beat yourself up about it. Sleep. Read. Walk. Enjoy what you're doing, living in the moment. You'll either miss the deadline or you won't. Doesn't matter. God loves you either way.
—sweetbetsy1

HOW TO STOP PROCRASTING

GREAT ARTICLE. ONE OF THE WAYS THAT I HAVE REDUCED MY TENDENCY TOWARD PROCRASTINATION IS TO DETERMINE A DAILY QUOTA OF THINGS I DON'T WANT TO DO--THINGS OVER AND ABOVE THE USUAL CHORES. TWO OR THREE IS A GOOD NUMBER FOR ME. ANOTHER TRICK IS TO DO THE EASILY PROCRASTINATED THING WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. DELAY ONLY MAKES THE CHORE MORE ONEROUS.
—Guest ANN

Procrastination is a symptom

A lot of GTD and self-help advice on procrastination help to a certain degree - however, they never "cure" procrastination because they just stop at dealing with procrastination as an effect. There are underlying root causes to why people procrastinate - in my opinion, it can be grouped into 2 main issues (1) lack of desire to do the thing (2) fear of something. Both reasons take digging and understanding of self to unravel, which is why people just prefer to work with dealing with procrastination at surface level instead.
—Guest Celestine

Maybe tomorrow

I was going to reply, but maybe I'll do it tomorrow... Actually, I have suffered procrastination for decades. I tried many organization and time-management strategies (like GTD) and self help books (like The Now Habit) with no lasting improvement. I finally decided I must have mild chronic depression and saw a psychiatrist. The prescribed antidepressant relieved anxiety that I didn't even realize I had and my productivity recovered remarkably. It was life-changing. I am only a couple of months into the treatment, so I can't judge long-term success yet.
—Guest Guy
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