Overcoming Procrastination/Chronic Procrastination

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Overcoming Procrastination

  1. Introduction
  2. Consequences
  3. Characteristics
  4. Causes
  5. Eliminating Procrastination
  6. Chronic Procrastination
  7. Resources

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When procrastination grows so prevalent that it becomes a personality trait, its severity is said to be chronic. In this form of procrastination, the problem has become a generalized habitual self-destructive pattern. Putting tasks off has become a core habit. The chronic procrastinator cannot get anything accomplished on time, resulting in serious career struggles, persistent financial problems, and a diminished quality of life. Chronic procrastination may cause psychological disability and dysfunction in many dimensions of life, and may result in a persistent sense of shame and low self-esteem. It may be that the procrastinator never learned the habit of completing tasks from his or her parents, and since some scientists assume that every form of behaviour is a learned one, such an environment could have coined his or her habits. The solution is for the procrastinator to rebuild his behavior complex upon the foundation of a new core habit of taking action. Unfortunately, the procrastinator is prone to procrastinate from this too, so the condition of chronic procrastination usually continues until the procrastinator cannot bear it any longer, and seeks out help or spontaneously realizes the willingness and determination to change his or her ways.

Many individuals who consider themselves "chronic procrastinators" are actually suffering from an underlying mental health problem such as depression or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). These individuals often do not understand why they cannot "get it together", and can become resigned to a life of struggle, frustration, and underachievement. There is, unfortunately, widespread ignorance about this constituent to procrastination, even amongst mental health professionals, some of whom see procrastination as simply a "bad habit".

In addition, some people are predisposed to monotropism, a condition associated with autism in which there is a tendency to allocate attention to one task at a time, and to be less able than usual to multi-task or allocate segments of time for different priorities as may be needed. This may stem from many causes, including obsessional disorders and Asperger syndrome. To these individuals, tasks perceived as less important or less urgent may be excessively deferred behind other tasks which receive undue attention or priority.

These disorders can be treated with medication and psychotherapy, whereby the individual can learn new behaviors and achieve a greatly improved quality of life. Thus it is important for people who chronically struggle with debilitating procrastination to see a trained therapist or psychiatrist to see if an underlying mental health issue may be present.

Procrastination and addiction[edit]

Severe procrastination, and the intense desire to escape from it, can lead to addictions such as internet addiction or computer addiction. In this instance the individual has a compulsion to elude reality by surfing the web or playing video games (see Game addiction) or looking at pornography (see Pornography addiction).

Some of these relatively new phenomena are already being considered as valid psychiatric diagnoses by mental health professionals.