Can Procrastination Due to Anxiety Be a Good Thing?
I must admit, anxiety-related procrastination plays a part in my life. There are far too many days when I find it very hard to cope with the complicated, impossibly fast push and pull of life. I can feel as though the world is too big and frightening and all I want to do is focus on the tiny acts of nurturing that help me cope minute to minute: nursing a large cup of tea, taking a nap or hiding in the bathroom to get away from the feeling of eyes and supposed scrutiny all around. These things look and feel like procrastination due to my anxiety.
How Anxiety Can Affect Your Focus, Causing Procrastination
During times of intense anxiety, I have felt far too trapped inside myself and my thoughts to concentrate on anything else (Coming Across As Self-Absorbed With An Anxiety Disorder). My thoughts spiral in a circle, preventing me from focusing on anything constructive. It, therefore, feels so much easier to huddle back inside my shell, to ignore emails and to put things aside until the very last minute. To, instead, breathe in and out and put all pressing matters aside for the next day, or the day after that and so it goes.
This is difficult for many reasons. I work full time at a job that requires me to be highly organised, juggling five tasks at any one time. I write in the evenings and try my absolute best to meet deadlines. Furthermore, I am on the committee of the Manchester Women’s Institute where I run the blogging group and help out with the social media. I sometimes feel as though I am running on two clocks. My life requires me to be committed and driven whilst my anxiety and depression require me to take things slowly, to look after myself.
The fact of the matter is that I want to live a busy, full life and I don’t want to feel as though my anxiety is holding me back. I am young and I am curious about the world and there are a million things that I would like to see and do. Modern life is pretty crazy busy. Sometimes it feels like the world is stacked precariously against us anxiety sufferers and that we would be much better off emigrating to another planet entirely. Pluto sounds pretty peaceful.
Steps to Banish Procrastination Due to Anxiety
The first step is to be patient with yourself and don’t feel guilt for taking time out to clear your head. I would even go as far to say that procrastination can sometimes be a positive thing for those with anxiety. Sometimes it is absolutely fine to take an hour, or an afternoon or a weekend to just concentrate on the business of remembering to breathe. I would suggest using such times to use relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress. I personally find that a hot bath can work wonders.
The second step is to find practical ways to organise your time in a manner that is both productive and stress free. I find that making lists can be enormously helpful and it can be extremely satisfying to tick off each task as you go along. Flowcharts and spider diagrams can also be visually quite therapeutic in this regard. Furthermore, I would argue that having long-term goals to work towards really help whether this being setting yourself personal targets at work or building up your strength at the gym. Seeing how your time can add up to something big can be be a great motivating force.
Most importantly of all, be sure to take time to recognise how much you do with your time and how amazing that is. Maintaining a busy, active life with anxiety is a real achievement and you shouldn’t feel bad about feeling overwhelmed at times. None of us run seamlessly as a wound clock and those who know you best will love you all the more because of this.
Banim, J. (2016, July 24). Can Procrastination Due to Anxiety Be a Good Thing?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, April 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/07/procrastination-and-anxiety
Author: Julia Banim
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Thank you so much for this post. This helped me on a day I really need it. I have needed intensive treatment for ice and anxiety have been to intensive ocd programs and have been waiting on a dbt program in NYC for 6months+. I was told I need to tolerate distress better before doing exposure response prevention and cognitive behavioral therapy for ocd . I was told to do this before I could get treatment at mount Sinai intensive ocd program. Today I was turned down by the second Dr in a few months attempting to treat the ocd and to finally have a psychiatrist. I was turned down and recommended trans cranial magnetic stimulation and I'm frightened by thinking of tms or, deep brain stimulation and tired. I'm trying so much.