As a psychologist & coach, I have worked several times with clients who suffer from anxiety due to procrastination. Many individuals that I have worked with don’t even realize the root of their anxiety; the vicious circle of procrastination.
When you start to procrastinate one thing and then another thing, what happens is that in the meanwhile, there are going to come other things in your life that need your attention. If you procrastinate long enough, things are going to pile up, and before you know it anxiety is going to creep in.
It doesn’t matter how your life is organized, there is always something that has a deadline.
If you have reached a point of your life where the pile is getting so unbearable that you can’t even talk about it out loud then you should seek help. Don’t even think about procrastinating that. I am certain that all psychologists or coaches could help you with this one. I would personally recommend a coach who as a psychological background, as anxiety is a psychological condition.
If you are semi anxious about your procrastination and think you can solve this on your own then take a piece of paper and a pen. Yes, back to basics! Now, this is going to be hard, but write down what really needs your attention. If the list is very long, you can start with the top 5 things that you have been procrastinating.
When you write things down, it reduces your anxiety a bit. You are in a way transferring your thoughts down to a piece of paper. In addition, you get a better overview. You are not getting any overview with racing thoughts, fueled by anxiety. If things are really piling up and causing you long term stress, it can further affect your memory in a negative way. Memory problems are one of the symptoms of long term stress.
When you have written a to-do list, look at it and write an estimated time to complete each task. You are going to be surprised that many of the projects are not that time-consuming. Imagine all the time spent on browsing through social media?
When you have your list ready, start with the easiest project on the list. If you start on the “easiest” project, you are going to build up confidence for the rest. Then, with practice, this becomes a habit and you jump right into the difficult projects. To cross over things on the list is so satisfying, let me tell you!
The good thing is that procrastination, anxiety and memory problems can always be dealt with. Make a conscious decision to start NOW, not tomorrow.
In my maternity leave, I have landed a job, built up my own company as a psychologist & coach, written a book, been a co-author for a psychology book, written articles for a specialist .. the list is endless! Let me tell you what kept me going, yes the list! It all comes down to the list!
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Picture by Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson