Why Anxiety Makes You Procrastinate
I struggled quite a bit with procrastination when I was younger, and it wasn't until recently that I realized it had been associated with my anxiety. Not only does anxiety cause you to want to avoid tasks, but it also results in avoiding important tasks for as long as possible and completing them at the last possible minute. Anxiety can make you procrastinate.
Anxiety Can Make You Want to Procrastinate -- Don't Do It
There are a few problems with anxiety making you procrastinate.
First of all, procrastination, in general, can lead to completing tasks haphazardly and not completing them to your optimal ability. I can't count how many times, while I was in school, I waited until the last minute to complete a paper or to study for a test. Then, I would receive a mediocre grade on it, or I knew I did not complete it to the best of my ability.
Second, procrastinating increases your anxiety. I think this can sometimes seem counterintuitive, but even though we might think that delaying a task because of anxiety can help reduce said anxiety, it can actually increase it instead. The more you find that putting off doing something keeps you from feeling anxious within the moment, the more you do it, and then the more anxious you actually feel.
Third, procrastination reinforces a cycle of avoiding and procrastinating. The more you feel less anxious within the moment because you've put off a task, the more you're likely to keep procrastinating in order to feel that momentary relief. Through my self-awareness, I've noted that vicious cycle of momentary relief from anxiety and wanting to procrastinate more to experience that temporary relief. However, I have also been aware that, when confronted with the reality of whatever I've procrastinated about, I also fear that anxiety.
How to Stop Procrastinating When You're Anxious
So how do you stop procrastinating because of anxiety?
One thing I've found helpful is first to recognize that this is associated with my anxiety. The things I've learned about my anxiety -- the fears, the over-worrying, the perfectionistic standards -- all of these things have been associated, in one way or another, with my tendency to procrastinate.
I've also found it helpful to schedule a task in my calendar and commit to it. I don't worry about it until then, and when the date and time come around, I follow through with it. I treat it like any other meeting or appointment on my calendar. When I start to feel hesitation due to worry, I push through without giving myself time to pause to contemplate the impending worry.
I also practice self-compassion. In relation to perfectionist standards and tendencies, it's important to take a step back and recognize your own humanity and give yourself a break. This has also taken practice, but it is quite helpful in reducing anxiety.
Are there strategies you use to keep yourself from procrastinating? If so, share them in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2023, August 3). Why Anxiety Makes You Procrastinate, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2023/8/why-anxiety-makes-you-procrastinate