Procrastination Linked With DepressionProcrastination and depression are inherently joined at the hip. If you look at research studies you will see that scores on the measure of depression are significantly correlated with scores on the measure of procrastination. What that means is the more depressed you are, the more we tend to procrastinate. While that revelation shouldn’t surprise you…

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Studies also show that when you have lower ability to self-regulate then you are more likely to be depressed and procrastinate.

So perhaps having low self-regulation skills is core to the issue. Learning how to self-regulate can be a key to digging yourself out of the dark hole.

The key to self-regulation is learning to put one foot in front of the other and executing with some intent. It doesn’t mean you have to enjoy what you are doing, it just means you have to show up for the sake of it.

“There journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lau Tzu

Is it this simple? Yes, and no.

Yes, it’s that simple. Its all about doing one thing purposefully at time and then building momentum into a second purposeful thing. If you are trying to write a paper just worry about writing the first sentence, just start there. The second sentence is not your problem right now. Don’t even worry if the first sentence is good…just write it.

No it’s not always that simple because depression complicates everything if you feel weak willed or a chronic procrastinator. Its no longer “just” about taking the first step, when the first step often leads to questions of “what’s the point” and the feeling of overwhelming sadness.

If you can pivot your focus to basic self-regulation skills it can help. It’s the old “fake it till you make it” trick. Just a small measure of self-control combined with a small action can be enough to set you in a direction. It is truly a “one foot in front of the other” approach. You don’t need to make huge steps or strides…just pretty good small steps is all it takes.


Procrastination and Depression
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5 thoughts on “Procrastination and Depression

  • May 26, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Maybe I am depressed. Had not really considered that yet as reason for my laziness.

    • May 27, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Anna,

      Certainly worth thinking about and looking into. You can also go see your regular physician and start there. They will know how to properly diagnose depression.


  • May 6, 2017 at 8:09 pm


    I see you refer to “pivoting” have you ever read about the Law of Attraction. Pivoting is a technique they use to move from a bad emotion to a positive one. Jus was curious if you were familiar because I thought “pivoting” was an interesting word choice.

    Beth Thomas

    • May 7, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Beth,

      Thanks for the comment. I am familiar with the Law of Attraction by Abraham and Esther Hicks. There material is very helpful and inspiring. I have two of their books on audio CD that I love taking with me on long car rides.

      Do you follow some of the Law of Attraction methods?


  • April 20, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Depression and Procrastination are something I have been dealing with all my life. Its hard to tell which started first. I read articles like this and you try to make it sound like its so easy to “pivot your focus”. When you are depressed you can’t pivot out of anything without medication.


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