Do you procrastinate? It's often a vicious cycle. When people procrastinate, they fall behind at work and at home and usually feel depressed, to some degree, because they didn't complete their tasks. Once depressed, this often causes lethargy and procrastination to intensify, followed by a greater feeling of depression.
For most people however, it can be so liberating to know what steps may help to stop (or at least reduce) the mix of procrastination and depression from continuing to dominate one's life. This "double-trouble" can often be reduced or eliminated. And remember: there's ongoing research on procrastination, so "stay tuned".
W A R N I N G: MANY PEOPLE SUFFER FROM "SITUATIONAL DEPRESSION" AT SOME POINTS IN THEIR LIFE; WHEN THEIR SITUATION IMPROVES, DEPRESSION SUBSIDES.
BUT DEPRESSION CAN BE FATAL! SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE EXPERIENCING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.
One very popular book about depression was authored by Dr. David Burns called "Feeling Good" - the New Mood Therapy. Dr. Burns probably deserves the most credit for making the term "cognitive therapy" a household term, having sold over 4 million copies of this book so far.
"Cognitions" are "thoughts" and the theory of cognitive therapy is that most people get depressed because they're thinking bad, disturbing, depressing thoughts. If/when we learn to better control our thoughts, and think in more positive, happier, realistic ways, we can learn to better control (or eliminate) depression.
Incidentally, the second chapter of "Feeling Good" has a 5-minute "depression test" that helps people determine if they do have some depression and, if so, to what approximate degree.
Most people can break the cycle of procrastination and depression if they learn to develop some new, more structured routines. The steps to do this are explained below.
1) Create A List of Tasks - Just the action of writing down all the things you feel you need to do can be cathartic. Don't worry about prioritizing the list just yet. That comes next!
2) Prioritize the List - Decide which ones are most critical. Work-related tasks should be prioritized by things such as deadlines. Personal or home-based tasks might be put in priority order based on emotional value, to some degree. If cleaning that ceiling fan covered in cobwebs will encourage you to then tackle the laundry and the budget, do the cobwebs first. Then keep going with more things on your list.
3) Planner or Calendar? - Get a calendar or planner that complements the way you think and what you will actually use. Write down your tasks in the planner or calendar so, at a glance, you can see your progress and be motivated to complete each task. Some people like to have a planner they carry with them and have a calendar at home. Just be sure you keep them in sync so you don't forget an important appointment!
4) Divide and conquer! - Calculate how long each task should require. Take into consideration that some activities need more time and some require more energy; this should influence when you schedule what.
5) Take off the rose colored glasses! - Another way to avoid procrastination and depression is to be realistic. Know your limits, and be kind to yourself! Play on your own strengths and don't focus on your weaknesses (yes, we all have them).
Don't plan to accomplish your entire list in a day, or even a week. After all, your list may contain things you've wanted to do for years!
Do what you can when you can, and you'll find that those feelings of depression won't take hold like they used to.
Does this process sound somewhat difficult? Maybe you need to smile and laugh and take a short break before you start. If so, you may like to read this: Procrastination Humor.
6) Be "Out of Order" Sometimes! - Do you have time and desire to do something on your to-do list, but it's not the next thing in priority order? Go for it anyway, if you get the chance. It's better to get SOMETHING done, than waste time altogether. Anything you put off until the next day or the next week could weigh you down emotionally and possibly cause the procrastination and depression downward cycle to start again.
7) Believe in Yourself! - Make a "Gratitude List"; write down all the positive things that are in your life, and be grateful for all of them. Keep this list with you and refer to it often, especially when you start to feel down.
As you start to do better, your confidence will likely build, your depression will subside, and your motivation and actions will be rekindled.
If so, and you want to make some positive changes, make a plan to keep you on task, and beat those energy-robbing feelings of frustration. Whether you think your problem is more work-related or home-based, you'll be more productive and successful in whatever you decide to do!
Most people can have a better, more productive and fulfilling life by following the steps outlined here! Often, the encouragement of a professional to help you get started and develop some healthier habits will speed up your process and improve your results.