You shift in your seat, finding any reason to not do your work. The deadlines, the work, and the stress aren’t going anywhere, yet you seek out any distraction you can find. The thought of tackling it seems untenable, so you push it away, perhaps trying to soothe yourself with statements like “I’ll circle back to it later,” “I just have too much to do,” or “It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.”
Sound familiar? If not, consider yourself lucky. Procrastination is a very common experience for many people. For those of us struggling with procrastination, we know the cycle all too well. We know the work tends to pile up and the anxiety and discomfort intensifies. So we push the work away, escaping or avoiding the stress or anxiety. And by doing so we end up strengthening the vicious cycle of procrastination.
If we know this, then why do we continue to procrastinate? If we are aware of the cycle, why do we keep repeat it time and time again?
Procrastination does provide us with some temporarily relief. If focusing on a deadline makes us feel anxious, then ignoring it or pushing away from the deadline will, for a moment, reduce our anxiety. This is true for any situation that makes us feel uncomfortable. If we remove the source of those feelings, then we will feel less anxious, stressed, or sad.
The trouble is with the connection between putting things off and the reduction in our anxiety or distress. Because procrastinating leads to short term relief (with an emphasis on short term), we are more likely to procrastinate when we feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. This leads to the vicious cycle of procrastination: avoidance becomes the go-to response to stress and discomfort.
The good news is there are strategies which can help disrupt the cycle of procrastination. Some of these strategies include:
-breaking goals down into smaller, more achievable subgoals
-developing a schedule and setting reminders
-practicing coping skills aimed at reducing anxiety and stress
You might already be aware of some of the techniques listed above. And yet, procrastination remains a problematic issue. Often times, enlisting the help of a therapist or counselor can be a very helpful, maybe necessary, component of breaking out of the procrastination prison. We are each at the center of our own issues, and it often requires an outside perspective to help us out of the tunnel vision we all too often find ourselves in.
Procrastination may have been part of your past, and it may be part of your present. But imagine a future with less worry and anxiety, and instead more productivity and confidence. Contact me today here or by phone at (954) 380-8980 and let me help you down this path. I look forward to hearing from you soon!