Do you delay things? Postpone actions or put off doing things altogether? In other words, are you a procrastinator?
If so, we have good news for you. Researchers in psychology in Stockholm are launching a unique treatment—the first in the world of its kind. It is a 10-week Internet-based treatment built on so-called cognitive therapy.
Those who apply and are screened will work on their issues themselves. They will receive a self-help book and exercises to do during their day-to-day life. ”It may be something like creating goals and building routines into the everyday that work,” says psychologist Alexander Rozental, one of the researchers behind the project. Procrastinators deliberately do somthing other than what they ought to do. It may be that they choose something that gives them instant gratification instead of something that won’t award them until later. ”Among the most effective in the treatment is that you break down bigger goals into smaller ones,” says Rozental. Around a fifth of all adults are considered suffering from procrastination. Among students, the number is believed to be even higher. Oftentimes the behavior has been there for some time, but at some point in life, for instance when a person goes from studying to working, it becomes unmanageable. Unlike other mental health issues, there’s no diagnosis for procrastination, therefore it may be difficult to define who has it to such a degree that they may be subject to the new treatment (which will simultaneously be a study).
The screening is based on a form that those who want to participate need to fill out and estimate themselves. There’s also a number of open questions. ”The study is not for those who are having too much to do at work right now, but for those who have procrastination as a pattern in several areas of their life.” One question is of course why the person who has the habit to procrastinate, would want to participate in this kind of treatment. ”Well, it may seem like something of a ’catch 22.’ Meanwhile, it is our experience that it is possible to implement these sorts of treatments online, for instance for depressed people. They are sometimes said to be too depressed to handle treatment, but it turns out they do it anyway,” says Alexander Rozental.