The avoidance of doing a task which needs to be done - postponing until tomorrow what can be done today.

Procrastination not only affects a person's work, but also commonly involves feelings such as guilt, inadequacy, self-disgust, stress and depression.

Often we try to disguise our avoidance by being very busy doing things that may be interesting, and even useful, but don't contribute towards the main goal - even doing something we normally hate!

At Cork Cognitive Therapy we offer a CBT programme in Carrigaline for procrastination.

Why do people procrastinate?

Sometimes time management is the problem in that we feel we can let things go but then we find that actually we don't have enough time to complete.

In the meantime we will have completed a whole range of other tasks that probably did not need to be done as urgently as the one we are avoiding so procrastination becomes an issue where we don't prioritise properly. When we don't prioritise we can become overloaded and this is a great excuse for not doing the task we want to avoid.

There are other reasons for procrastination and these can be more psychological such as poor concentration, not knowing what is required, feeling overwhelmed, concerns about failure, concerns about success, perfectionism, negative thoughts and feelings, poor problem solving or just being bored.

How to overcome procrastination

Overcoming procrastination usually involves both better organisational and time-management skills as well as a clearer understanding of its personal or emotional meaning.The former skills can be learned and improved with practice. Although there are some useful tips that can help you improve, it is primarily a matter of finding the ways of working that best suit you rather than trying to rigidly follow someone else's model.

CBT can help you to understand and change the personal or emotional aspects to your procrastination.

CBT can help

CBT as practiced at Cork Cognitive Therapy can help you accept that there is no magic wand and that you will have to do the task at some time. Knowing that you have to do it gives you some options it that you can do it early and put up with short term anxiety or do it late and put up with long term anxiety.

CBT as practiced by Cork Cognitive Therapy can help you change how you think about the task and by taking into account the sort of person you are, of your values and your expectations. Together we can assess whether these "fit" with the way in which you are trying to tackle the task. Remember that patterns of working vary from one person to another, and so do the desired outcomes.

CBT as practiced by Cork Cognitive Therapy can help you recognise self-defeating behaviour. Together we will work out why you procrastinate: what do you gain from it? This is an important step in the process and the "why" is vital when trying to effect change.

Procrastination can often be linked with anxiety. Anxiety as a condition can worsen overtime so the earlier you get a handle on it the better. While procrastination might seem like a small problem, it could be masking a bigger issue.