One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is procrastination. People procrastinate because they want to delay their exposure to an undesirable situation. This undesirable situation can either be real or merely perceived. Regardless, the longer you take to complete certain tasks, the further off you put your exposure to the undesired activity.
In this post, we will be exploring three reasons why you are likely to procrastinate and an effective method to stop procrastinating.
The first common reason you are likely to procrastinate is boredom. You are most likely to feel bored if you are transitioning from an exciting activity to a less exciting activity. For example, you just finished playing an exciting video game, which you have been playing for the past three hours. You have become mentally fatigued with the game and have decided to do something else. You put the controller down and decide to clean your home. One problem, your brain finds the act of cleaning your home, less rewarding than the successfully military siege you engaged in on your video game. It is possible to transition from playing an exciting video game to cleaning your home, however it is also very difficult. An attempt to make such a transition will result in you feeling irritable, putting the broom down, and looking for something else exciting to do.
The solution is to train your brain to do the hard stuff first. This means you will schedule a plan to clean your home first thing in the morning. After this and all other tedious tasks are done, you can then play your exciting video game.
The second common reason you are likely to procrastinate is anxiety. Anxiety is common and normal. For example, if you began taking flight lessons today you will likely feel anxious once in the cockpit. Another example would be giving a speech before an audience, especially if it is something you have never done before. When anxiety becomes a problem, is when you believe that you shouldn’t feel anxious and you do everything you can to avoid feeling anxious. An example would be procrastinating to talk to your supervisor about your desire for a raise. Another example would be stalling in studying for an exam, which you are not confident about passing.
The solution for this is to identify your reasons for procrastinating, Next, address your beliefs regarding these reasons. The goal is to let go of beliefs that lead to procrastinating. Then identify beliefs that inspire you to become more assertive and punctual.
The third common reason you are likely to procrastinate is perfectionism. The reasons for perfectionism are like the reasons given for anxiety. This is because, people whom are perfectionists, have anxiety regarding their desire to do things perfectly. If you suffer from perfectionism, you are likely to abandon tasks if you determine the outcome will not be perfect. In most cases if the perfectionist cannot envision a perfect outcome, the task is never initiated.
The solution for this is to identify beliefs that lead to the desire for perfectionism. Often, these beliefs are rooted to a desire for acceptance and recognition. For example, “if I don’t do this well, no one will like me or have anything to do with me”. Compare this to a different example, “If it turns out that this is not well done, I will learn my lesson and improve next time.”
If you struggle with chronic procrastination, the good news is that you can improve. With expert help, you can become more engaged in your daily activities and feel happier more often.