The Link Between Procrastination and Depression

Home Depression The Link Between Procrastination and Depression

It is not uncommon for young adults to consciously put off doing things they don’t want to do until the last minute, even if it leads to more anxiety. Often, people who are procrastinating doing something may be aware that they are “wasting time,” but don’t really know what is stopping them from staying on task. Time management is useful in helping young adults try to plan ahead, but it is often motivation, not organization, that gets in the way of depressed people finishing things on time. Avoidance and rumination are core features of procrastination and depression, which can get in the way of young adults reaching their goals.  

Why are Depressed People More Likely to Procrastinate?

  • Loss of Interest. When people are depressed, they often lose interest in activities they normally enjoy. They may express interest in an activity, but hesitate about making a decision if they are worried they won’t feel up to it in the moment.
  • Low energy. Tasks seem to require more energy when someone is depressed. Something that they may typically do without thinking can feel intimidating when they take a step back and try to plan it out.
  • Difficulty concentrating. As smaller stressors pile on, people who struggle with depression often don’t know where to start. The first step seems just as overwhelming as the bigger picture, which makes it hard to prioritize. They may start multiple “projects” and give up when they feel bored or overwhelmed.
  • Hopeless Thinking. Depression is associated with a “why” mentality. Young adults struggle to see how finishing one thing can open up opportunities for the next. They may constantly ask themselves, “why am I even doing this?” or “why does this matter?” In their search for meaning, they are more likely to express cynicism and feel disconnected from their values.
  • Low Self-Esteem. The more young adults procrastinate doing things, the less likely they are to ever follow through. They may internalize this as they are incapable of commitment or that they weren’t “good enough” to attempt their goals in the first place. Especially if they compare themselves to other people, they may worry their procrastination is associated with a personal flaw, rather than other stressors that are affecting their confidence.  

Getting Young Adults Motivated

  • Help them identify when they are procrastinating something.
  • Ask them what barriers they feel are getting in the way.
  • Encourage them to set more realistic, short-term goals in line with their values.
  • Acknowledge their effort, rather than just their achievement.
  • Celebrate successes to help them feel like their goals have a purpose.

Foundations Asheville Can Help 

Foundations Asheville is a program for young adults ages 18-24 who are struggling to take the first steps towards independence and adulthood. This program emphasizes community engagement and the importance learning practical life skills. Students will improve their self-confidence by developing the skills they need to be a healthy, functional adult. The relationship-based approach teaches the value of communication and maintaining a healthy social life. Foundations Asheville gives young adults the opportunity to recreate themselves and lead healthy lives. Let us help your family today!

Contact us at (877) 318 – 7273


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