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Sooner, Not Later: U of L Doc On Beating Procrastination

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At one time or another, everyone has procrastinated. There are numerous reasons to put things off and the director of the University of Louisville Depression Center, Dr. Jesse Wright, spoke with me about some of the underlying factors. Wright will give a lecture this week called “Break Through Procrastination: Unlock Your Potential.” You can listen to our conversation in the player above.

On one of the common reasons people put things off:  

"One of the things we see a lot in clinical practice as a psychiatrist is people that have depression. Because depression can sap your energy, sap your motivation, sap your ability to get things done. And then after a period of time, it gets harder and harder to get things done and procrastination sets in and that becomes part of the problem of depression.

"So then we need to treat not only the depressive symptoms with things like medication and therapy, we then have to tackle this problem of not being able to get things done. And as they pile up and pile up it just makes you feel more discouraged and more depressed. It becomes a vicious cycle."

On how to deal with procrastination:

"Pick one thing that seems reasonably doable and set a realistic goal for it. Lots of times we see people that say, well I'm going to start exercising, or I'm going to go on a diet or I'm gonna stop this or stop that or start this. And it turns out to be so general and so overwhelming that you get a start to it and before long your efforts have not panned out and you give up and you're back in the same old rut.

"So setting a realistic goal and taking it a step at a time is really important. This is something we all know, you know, not to try to climb Mount Everest if you haven't walked up a little hill out here in St. Matthews. But so many people do set these big goals and then get discouraged along the way. So working out a plan of taking it a small step at a time and building on that success is often a key to reaching those goals."

Wright will give a lecture on procrastination called “Break Through Procrastination: Unlock Your Potential” on Thursday, January 11 at at 7 p.m. at the Second Presbyterian Church at 3701 Old Brownsboro Road. More information can be found here.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.