Observations Reality Check

Act now to fight chronic procrastination disorder

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6119 (Published 28 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6119
  1. Ray Moynihan, author, journalist, and senior research fellow
  1. 1Bond University, Australia
  1. RayMoynihan{at}bond.edu.au

Procrastination awareness week will happen next week—or the week after that

For those who like to keep up with the latest developments in medicine, a new disease was launched earlier this month at the University of Melbourne’s 2013 Festival of Ideas. Close to 200 scientists, clinicians, citizens, and public relations experts spent almost half an hour creating the new condition, chronic procrastination disorder, for which the inaugural global disease awareness week will take place next week. Or the week after.

Among the stellar group of scientists who helped design the new disease was the high profile epidemiologist Fiona Stanley, who spent several moments developing and validating a severity index, highlighting the condition’s wide spectrum of symptoms. At the mild end are people who are unbearably slow to place orders at restaurants; at the severe end are those facing jail sentences for persistent failure to file tax returns.

Also present was the psychiatrist Jon Jureidini, who helped set the diagnostic thresholds that draw the line between common indecision and debilitating procrastination. Answering questions from journalists at the mock launch of the disease, Jureidini confirmed that he was a company funded “key opinion …

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