2. Is it Attention Deficit Disorder?
The field of ADD is immense, and I’m not an expert in it. But people with ADD and ADHD have neurological differences that cause them to severely struggle with focus.
Jason was unable to do laundry or begin a school paper was more about focus. People with focusing problems can get lost in what seems to others simply organizational processes, and shame leads them to problems with self-worth.
3. Is it the consequence of helicopter or abusive parenting?
If things were done for you as a child, or even as an adult child, you may not have learned how to organize your own thinking, prioritize your own choices, or navigate small (or large) failures. If you had a helicopter parent, you may have learned, “Even if I don’t do it, it still gets done.”
Shondra hadn’t been allowed to make mistakes because her parent accomplished those unfamiliar-to-you tasks for her. However, this deprived her of the opportunity to problem-solve and develop her own sense of self-competence. She’d never been allowed to navigate unfamiliar territory, and so the unknown or “looking stupid” was terrifying.
In more extreme dynamics, if you were abused as a child, or very heavily criticized, you can also develop the tendency to stay invisible. You fear making a mistake or looking like you don’t know something. And it can paralyze you.
4. Is it perfectionism, worry, self-doubt, or anxiety?
Alex, who had a bad problem with procrastination, also suffered from huge insecurities. She didn’t know how to expect anything but perfectionism from herself, and yet, was also terrified of looking or sounding as if she wasn’t in perfect control.
So, knowing what’s underneath procrastination can lead to different treatments. If it’s past trauma, then trauma-related work needs to occur, whether that’s EMDR or some other kind of trauma work. If it’s a focusing issue, then techniques like biofeedback or neuro-feedback might be helpful, or medication is a possibility.
If it’s a product of poor or abusive parenting, there may be an underlying depression that needs to be addressed. If it’s mainly anxiety, then calming techniques such as mindfulness or meditation could be useful, hypnosis is a possibility, cognitive work (challenging those irrational thoughts), and regular exercise could also be helpful.
Confront your shame, show compassion for yourself as you acknowledge your vulnerability, and then begin to unravel the how and why of your procrastination.
And you’ll get that paper done. You’ll order that chicken sandwich. And you’ll open your mail.
And you’ll enjoy so much more freedom.
Check out Dr. Margaret Rutherford’s bestselling book Perfectly Hidden Depression on Amazon. Her book will be translated into seven different languages and will be available this year.
Everyone is guilty of procrastinating sometime or the other, but if your goal is overcoming procrastination, then you need to get to the root of the problem first. The moment you understand what’s causing it, overcoming procrastination will get easier for you, and you will once again have control of your life, and your freedom.