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Anxiety-Driven Procrastination: When You Aren't Really Swimming in Time

“I have a blog due in a few hours!” -Me waking up suddenly at 5:00 am to write this blog you are reading now. Although it sucks to forget a deadline, anxiety has a wonderful way of kicking us into gear to get things done; where are my procrastinators at?! I’ll be honest, I work best under pressure and if I am being extremely transparent there is something addictingly chaotic about finishing something at the very last minute. I cannot be alone in this, in fact, I know I am not. So why then are we so ruled by anxiety-driven procrastination? Here are a couple of possibilities:

Learned Behavior

Anyone else come from a long line of people who claim to be on their way when in reality they’re barely hopping in the shower? I vividly remember my mom being notoriously late to family events so much so that my aunt told her the party started 2 hours earlier than the actual time just so we’d show up on time.

Trauma Brain

I often discuss the impacts of trauma on the brain and how that looks behaviorally, well add this to the list. When the brain is used to being in a state of flee, freeze, or fight it may have difficulty regulating time or even completing projects despite the anxiety that is coursing through your veins.

Feeling Confused or Conflicted

Have you ever tried doing something, but it felt so overwhelming and you didn’t know where to start or what to do? Not having enough information or not quite understanding something can be a major barrier to procrastination.

What to Do About It

My two biggest tips for working through procrastination are acceptance and the rule of one. Acceptance means being okay with the fact that you are a red-blooded procrastinator; it’s who you are. It is difficult to change something you don’t like about yourself until you are honest about it being a part of you. Now that we’ve accepted this, we operate out of the rule of one: what is one thing I want to do to help myself with procrastinating? This can look like waking up 15 minutes earlier, writing down important deadlines, or anything else that is relative to your situation. Just do one thing really well for a week.

Anxiety can be a good motivator for getting stuff done, but there is also a cost to pay for consistently flooding your brain with dopamine such as panic attacks, increased anxiety, difficulty sleeping, heart racing, trouble focusing, or mood dysregulation.

At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX, we specialize in helping folks manage their anxiety. The therapists here can help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage and cope with anxiety.

Learn more about the Anxiety Counseling services we offer

Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.

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