The link between depression and procrastination is strong. To put it another way, procrastination is one very common symptom of depression. When you’re depressed, the urge to avoid stressful endeavors and seek short-term distractions can become overwhelming.
Procrastination is one of the negative feedback loops that can leave a depressed person feeling trapped and hopeless. The more depressed you feel, the more you procrastinate; the more you procrastinate, the more despairing and self-hating you feel. Breaking out of this cycle takes effort and discipline, and when you’re really depressed that effort can appear overwhelming.
Even if you recognize realistically that the tasks you face are not all that fearsome, and that the effort required to get started lies well within your ability, and that you’ll feel much better once you take some action to break out of the procrastination cycle, it’s never easy.
Procrastination has always been one of my biggest problems. Over the last couple months, I’ve fallen into bad habits again. So consider this post a step in breaking the cycle and launching a new positive feedback loop of fulfilling work, growth, change, creativity and success.
Some procrastination resources that have helped me:
Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits has several great articles about procrastination, including: Dead Simple Guide to Beating Procrastination, Best Procrastination Tip Ever, Procrastination is a Mindfulness Problem. I highly recommend bookmarking Zen Habits.
Feeling Good by David Burns is still my favorite guide to coping with depression. Chapter 5, “Do Nothingism: How to Beat It”, contains very useful strategies and worksheets for overcoming procrastination. I’m re-reading it this week and printing out some worksheets for my own use.
There are dozens of how-to-stop-procrastinating books on the market. I’ve read a couple, browsed a few more, but never found anything more insightful or useful than the David Burns chapter. If you have a recommendation, add a comment.