Digital Success: Kevin Dalby, Austin-based Professor, Highlights Underlying Causes of Chronic Procrastination (And How to Treat Them)

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Digital Success: Kevin Dalby, Austin-based Professor, Highlights Underlying Causes of Chronic Procrastination (And How to Treat Them)

Digital Success: Kevin Dalby, Austin-based Professor, Highlights Underlying Causes of Chronic Procrastination (And How to Treat Them)

If you find yourself
putting off multiple tasks or solutions that need your attention, you might
suffer from chronic procrastination. 

Chronic
procrastination can cripple your life. From avoiding daily to-do lists to
necessary medical tests, it is crucial to recognize constant procrastination’s
adverse effects. 

Dr. Kevin
Dalby
, professor of chemical biology and medicinal
chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, Department of Oncology at The University
of Texas in Austin, says procrastinating from medical tests can be fatal,
especially with catching cancer too late. 

Treating chronic
procrastination starts with getting to the root cause. Mental health issues
such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, or OCD can trigger compulsively dithering
with essential tasks. Dalby further discusses the underlying causes of chronic
procrastination and what unconventional solutions to consider. 

Why do we procrastinate?

Poor time management
commonly receives the blame for procrastinators’ ways. However, a study
from Stockholm University revealed that in
most cases, the underlying issue of procrastinating stems from emotional
reasons such as stress or anxiety. Negative thoughts cause negative emotions, and it is our human nature to avoid these downward feelings.
What do these emotionally challenging situations look like, and what is the
best way to approach the hurdle?

Root Cause #1: Seeking perfectionism.

If you approach a project
with a mentality to seek perfection, you might be scared of failure. 

Perfectionism gets in the way and holds you back from truly engaging
with your task. No human is perfect, so when you try and set unachievable goals
with the hope of generating the best quality of work in a short amount of time,
you are setting yourself up for a mental tumble. The extra stress caused by the
overwhelming will to make no mistakes grows from fear of failure. 

Treatment: Change your thoughts.

Accept that you are
human, and progress forward with tasks in a positive and uplifting mindset.
Instead of preventing yourself from making any mistakes, embrace your mistakes,
and seek what you can learn from each one. 

Root Cause #2: Lending the load to the future.

How many times have
you said, “Oh, I’ll just do it tomorrow.” 

Procrastinating from
tasks by passing them on to your future self stems from anxiety. We choose to
avoid stress and additional anxiety during the day by pushing assignments out
to tomorrow’s plate. 

Treatment: Instead of avoiding, choose rewarding.

Next time you want to
prevent working on a project, or push it off just a little longer, try setting
a worthwhile goal. For example, if you figure out the first three steps to your
annual presentation, you reward yourself with a movie and popcorn night. 

Root Cause #3: Only looking up.

When some people
approach a mountain, they can only look up. 

Task complexity can
often spark low self-esteem through thoughts that are focused on the
impossibility of a difficult assignment or one’s incapability. Such a mindset
can metaphorically compare to the mental process of approaching a mountain.
Some people take one look at a huge mountain and only see all the effort it
takes to get to the top. People with this view most likely will put off
climbing a mountain for their entire life. Instead of focusing on the big
picture, look down and figure out what you need to do to take the first tiny
step.

Treatment: Reframe the picture.

Stop looking at the
big mountain, or job, and concentrate on what tiny step you can tackle first
that would exercise one of your strengths. Starting a task on a confident and
robust note can keep the motivation going throughout the journey.

About Kevin Dalby:

Dr. Kevin Dalby is a professor of
chemical biology and medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, Department
of Oncology at The University of Texas in Austin. He is studying the mechanisms
of cancer cell signaling to develop targeted therapeutics. Dr. Dalby’s efforts
were recognized by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
(CPRIT) and the National Institutes of Health, granting him nearly $5 million
to support his research.





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