All of us procrastinate at times, but for some, it occurs more often and has more severe consequences. A popular myth about procrastination is that if something is important enough, a person will do it. My experience doesn't support this, and neither does the research. I believe people who procrastinate are usually highly motivated and well intentioned, but they struggle to turn those intentions into meaningful actions.
Research psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered correlations between procrastination, specific personality traits and cerebral cortex functions. Some people may be neurologically wired to procrastinate more. The researchers also agree that factors affecting procrastination are very complex, and even if some people are more prone to procrastinate, it does not need to become their destiny. There are factors within their control that will allow them to procrastinate less.
Here are the factors I see most often that contribute to procrastination:
- Poor executive function skills
- False assumptions about how difficult something will be
- False assumptions about how long something will take
- Poor tolerance for short-term discomfort
- Poor ability to imagine future rewards
- Unrealistic expectations and perfectionism
Lost opportunities produce their own negative consequences, and also bring regrets and self-recrimination. Frenzied, last minute activities are stressful and often produce disappointing results. All of this fuels feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy, and people may eventually avoid attempts at meaningful work or projects, preventing them from experiencing some of life's greatest rewards.
How I can help
Simple time management or motivational strategies usually aren't enough for people to learn how to manage procrastination. I blend the nursing process with coaching to offer a holistic, problem-solving approach. Clients and I work collaboratively to generate and apply individualized solutions. I provide structure and compassionate accountability, allowing clients to practice new strategies, learn from their experience and strengthen new habits. Perhaps most importantly, I work with clients on shifting perspectives to address many of the underlying false assumptions and negative thoughts that fuel procrastination.
When clients are able to trust themselves to follow through with their intentions, they move forward to discover new, more rewarding possibilities for themselves. They replace feelings of stress and inadequacy with confidence and optimism.
"Chronic disorganization" is the term used to describe a long history of struggle with organization and/or productivity, leading to significant impact on quality of life. People who are chronically disorganized are often very intelligent and talented, yet mystified as to why they have difficulty managing the tangible things in their lives, like papers and possessions; or the less tangible, like time and information.
Like any other group of people, chronically disorganized (CD) individuals have their own unique personalities, but many share some of the following characteristics:
- Appreciation for beauty
- Global or "big picture" thinking
- Poor sense of time
- Challenges with focus; distractibility
- Difficulty prioritizing
CD individuals often find creative ways to compensate for not being organized. Since they have never known anything different, they may not realize how much time and energy they spend on those compensations. Eventually, life catches up with them, and their ability to function effectively starts to suffer.
Once CD individuals recognize that they might benefit from better organization, they often seek more information or purchase storage products, tools and productivity apps, but find they can't apply the information or use the tools successfully. This leads to feelings of failure and embarrassment, while in the meantime, the state of disorganization gets worse. Motivation waxes and wanes between varying states of optimism and overwhelm.
How I can help
Most conventional organizing and productivity strategies are not helpful for CD individuals, but understanding and a holistic problem-solving approach can be very effective. My background in nursing, training as a coach and experience as a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization® give me a great foundation of knowledge, skills and tools to anticipate the needs and provide the additional support and resources that will allow CD clients to thrive. Clients realize new possibilities when they discover more effective strategies for managing themselves and their environments.
ADHD is a neurobiological condition that affects many aspects of how people process information, focus, plan and take action. People who have ADHD may have difficulty in any of the following areas:
- Breaking large projects down into smaller, manageable chunks
- Planning the right sequence of tasks
- Task initiation
- Sense of time
- Sustaining focus
- Dealing with feeling overwhelmed
People with ADHD often find they cannot take action unless they are up against a deadline or something is very interesting and exciting for them. Their brains may need this extra stimulation to become sufficiently activated to plan and execute a task. Unfortunately, life doesn't always provide this extra bit of stimulation, and waiting until the last minute is stressful. Often, it's the simplest, most mundane tasks that create the biggest challenges for people with ADHD.
How I can help
I have extensive experience working with people who have ADHD and I actively pursue ongoing education about ADHD through a variety of resources. I understand the neurological processing differences in people with ADHD, and how they may show up differently in different individuals. I work with my clients to design systems that complement their unique profile of strengths and challenges. By incorporating strengths and modality preferences, we can make boring tasks more captivating. We also strategize how to manage time more effectively, often finding ways to create an "external" structure of reminders and accountability to prevent clients from getting too far off track if they get distracted.
Other neurological, mental and physical health challengesMany people who have long-standing organizational and productivity challenges also have learning differences, depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, autism spectrum disorder or chronic health challenges such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. I can't treat these conditions, but I understand how they impact organization and productivity; and I'm able to work effectively with clients who are living with these challenges. Better organization not only improves one's quality of life, but it also makes it easier to maintain good self-care and manage any health issues that may exist.
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