What Is Clinical Procrastination?

What Is Clinical Procrastination?

by Dr Emma Gray - 29th October, 2018


In this blog I am going to help you to work out if you are a Clinical Procrastinator. Clinical Procrastination is when putting things off has become one of the main ways you deal with life and is getting in the way of not only your productivity, but your relationships and ultimately your happiness and enjoyment of life.

We are designed by nature to delay tasks we aren’t currently equipped to deal with, the idea being that we use the delay to prepare either psychologically or physically for the challenge that we face, which will ensure our best performance and ultimately, our survival.

We all Procrastinate from time to time but we tip into Clinical Procrastination when we get stuck in this delay and instead of spending the time preparing ourselves for the challenge, we spend the time criticising ourselves and predicting negative outcomes. Clinical Procrastination can have a significant and negative impact on our life, our relationships and our mood.

Clinical Procrastination originates from something helpful but can easily become a way of dealing with self-doubt, low confidence and anxiety when we are faced with responsibilities that we must meet. Clinical Procrastination is most common in people who are battling with Depression, Anxiety or Low Self-Esteem/Confidence.

So here is a quick quiz to help you to self-diagnose if this is a problem for you and then in the next blog I will show you how to tackle procrastination because it would seem that when you have something to do, life won’t let you move forward until you do it.

1. When faced with something that you must do, is your default to put it off?

2. Do those close to you often complain that you put things off?

3. Do you think you put things off?

4. Is your ‘To do’ list piling up?

5. Do you rarely feel on top of things?

6. Do you often feel anxious or guilty about what you have to do but haven’t done?

7. Do you often feel frustrated with yourself for not getting on with things?

8. Do you often get stuck on your phone or in front of the tv when you know you have things to do?

9. Are you more likely to stay in bed when you have lots to do?

10. Do you often predict that things will turn out badly or that you will not be able to cope?

11. Do you often feel bored and/or rarely experience a sense of achievement?

12. Are you often late for things and/or struggle to get yourself organised?

13. Do you often miss opportunities because you put things off?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to 2 or more of these questions you may be a Clinical Procrastinator. Check out my next video (How To Stop Procrastinating) below and I will show you how to get on top of this behaviour.

If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed in this article and would like to seek professional help then you may find our Problems Pages helpful.

Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleagues once described me as a natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.

Read more about my approach to counselling here...

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