How Anxiety Fuels Procrastination

procrastinationIt may be crystal clear when your driving fears or driving anxiety makes you procrastinate. For example, you may stall for hours on end when it comes time to get in the car to run an errand. Or you may keep rescheduling or even cancelling appointments so they’re always sometime in the future, but just not know, so you never have to drive to them at all.

While these are fairly obvious examples of driving anxiety resulting in procrastination, there are several ways other types of anxiety can make you procrastinate without you even realizing it. Anxiety may be delaying your actions if any of the three scenarios below sound familiar. 

Blaming Others for Your Delay

Anxiety may be at the root of procrastination if you notice yourself blaming others for your delay. Perhaps you’d finish your report if only your coworker would edit the third paragraph already. Or maybe you’d remodel the kitchen if only your husband or wife would help pick out the knobs for the new cabinets.

Shuttling blame onto others means you don’t have to face the real reason you’re dragging your feet: you’re anxious about the report, the remodel or whatever other action you’re avoiding. Be honest with yourself. Do you really have to delay working on an entire project because a single paragraph needs editing or the ideal knobs have not yet been chosen?

Letting One Tiny Block Halt the Whole Task

Sometimes a big project or task may be do-able overall, except for one step in the process that’s halting progress on the entire thing. An example here may be a work report that involves tons of research and an interview with a company president. Maybe the research portion is easy and even fun for you, but you’re filled with anxiety about calling up the head of the company.

Realizing that the bulk of the task doesn’t bring you anxiety, only a small part of it does, can help you move through that block.

Making a Task Much Bigger than It Has to Be

Let’s say you have to clean up and reorganize a bookcase. Rather than simply grabbing a dust rag, boxes and whatever other supplies you may need to dive on into the project, you instead insist there are tons of additional steps that need to be done.

Maybe you think all the books have to be rearranged alphabetically, or by size and/or color. Perhaps you concoct the idea that all the shelves need to be pulled out and refinished, with a certain type of stain that will take three weeks to arrive. Making a mountain of a project out of a molehill can be a sign of anxiety about the project to begin with.

You can break through anxiety-fueled procrastination by first recognizing it, and then being honest with yourself about why a certain task may be stirring up anxious feelings. Once you’ve discovered and addressed the root cause of your delay, you’ll be able to more easily move forward to get things done.