Sep 26

You have plenty of time, but can’t get things done? Busy with many little things, but way too often find yourself postponing the really important tasks?

Then you might be one of the many people suffering from procrastination. Procrastination often looks like self sabotage, since it can result in missing important business opportunities, offending others by repeatedly arriving too late at appointments or not finishing crucial steps in achieving carreer-related or educational goals.
Out of that, many develop feelings of guilt, stress and a reduction of self-esteem, which itself can leed to further procrastination, and even depression. So-called ‘Messies’ often show symptoms of procrastination as well.

Another cause for difficulties in achieving goals can be juvenile or adult ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). People with untreated ADHD often appear to be disorganized, have chaotic lifestyles, and tend to rely on (non-prescribed) drugs and alcohol to get by. While childhood ADHD gets lots of attention these days, psychologists and psychiatrists have found that quite many adults are suffering from the same impairments, though with slightly different symptoms.

But how to get rid of this inhibition of getting things done? My observation is that many people who are suffering from it tend to buy an abundance of guidebooks with lurid titles like ‘Everything Is Possible!‘ which usually contain at least a few dozen instructions and tips each – but at the end, this only leaves them feeling more frustrated and inapt than before. If you want to get to the roots of your problem, first check for ADHD as a potential cause by getting a diagnosis from a psychiatrist, psychotherapist or psychologist. While ADHD may require medical support in many cases, procrastination in general is a problem that can be succesfully dealt with through regular counseling and coaching over a reasonable amount of time.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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