#40: Overcoming Procrastination

Today’s episode is a response to a listener question about procrastinating making progress towards life goals. Marielle and Ed explore the emotions that underlie urges to put off doing what needs to get done. For some people, procrastination is a habitual response, no matter what the task. For other people, procrastination is a response to specific unpleasant tasks. Either way, procrastination often leads to feelings of shame and low self-worth.  

Procrastination also can create secondary problems, meaning that not taking care of a task or problem often leads to new problems. Marielle and Ed discuss skills to help you change this common and challenging cycle.

Show Highlights

  • Identifying the emotions and thoughts that drive procrastination
  • Fear is a common driver of procrastination 
  • Fear of failure 
  • Fear of letting people down or angering them
  • Are you basing your sense of self on what you achieve?
  • Being mindful of your thoughts
  • Self-soothing by engaging your 5 senses to tolerate distress
  • “Bookending” – doing something nice for yourself before and after that hard task
  • Rewards are much more effective than punishment
  • Breaking down one big task into small tasks
  • Using self-encouragement 
  • Remembering why this goal is important
  • Using the Build Mastery skill 
  • Acknowledge all the hard things you have already done in your life
  • Radical Acceptance around the desire to procrastinate
  • Self-love and self-compassion as an antidote to self-criticism

DBT Skills Discussed

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here. 

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.