Anxiety can show up at different times for everyone, but for me it really manifests when I’m procrastinating. Unfortunately, procrastination has become a trend for me lately and one I’m not proud to admit. I actually can’t stand that I do this and it’s a habit I’m currently working on reprogramming.
I can look at the simplest of tasks and my brain will somehow make whatever it is into something way more daunting than it needs to be. This leads me to feel overwhelmed, even when there’s no need to be, which then worsens my anxiety. When my anxiety kicks in I begin to feel stuck and like I don’t know where to begin with completing the task, so instead I’ll distract myself. I’ll turn on Netflix, go on a Target run, do literally anything besides what needs to be done. Doing so provides temporary relief, but once I’m done the anxiety comes back ten-fold, because, “Oh, look! There’s that simple task that I still haven’t completed.” It’s a frustrating loop, but thankfully one I’ve noticed and realized is no longer working for me.
So, why have I been procrastinating if it only leads me to feel more anxious? I believe it’s because I’m subconsiously trying to keep myself busy and avoid something else I don’t want to address; whatever deeper thing that may be. You don’t have to consciously know exactly what you’re avoiding to acknowledge that you’re showing avoidance behavior. Maybe you know exactly what you’re avoiding, which is helpful. However, if you don’t (like me) completing tasks and slowing down is what will allow the answer to surface. Sometimes our brain isn’t ready for stuff to surface though, so instead it keeps us stuck in unhealthy habit loops, like procrastination. That way, we don’t have to address whatever it is and the uncomfortable feelings that will likely accompany it.
Think about it: Your to-do list is *completely* finished. Every last thing checked off. You didn’t procrastinate and finished it all. Then what? Well, then you’ll (like me) just find more stuff to do: scroll on your phone, start another random project, run errands. We rather go, go, go, then have to sit with ourselves in silence and allow whatever feelings we’re avoiding to come up. Only feeling our feelings is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Slowing down long enough to feel what’s going on inside ourselves is not only important; it’s essential to becoming who we’re meant to be. Stopping allows us to process and heal. By not allowing myself to complete items on my to-do list and procrastinating, I was not allowing myself the opportunity to feel, heal and grow. I’ve been lying to myself for too long. I’m not too busy for downtime and I’m willing to bet you aren’t either. Reality is, I’ve just been managing my time poorly, because I’ve been procrastinating and avoiding. The anxiety that stems from it has just become yet another tool my brain is using to distract me.
I’m exhausted with this cycle and have decided I’m done. I’m in control, not my brain.
I’m leaving procrastination and avoidance in 2021. I’ve started completing tasks and in return have gifted myself with more free time to discover what’s waiting inside me to be healed. I’m ready to grow. I’ve got too many goals I want to accomplish in the new year and I refuse to let my brain trick me into missing out on any of them.
Here are five things that’ve helped me break my procrastination habit: