Procrastination and Anxiety

Introduction

If you have become stuck in your career, the first step that you can take is to identify which type of procrastinators are you from the 6 types of procrastinators listed below.

Procrastination Is Part of Our Nature

Monica R. Basco wrote pointed out that procrastination is not laziness. She wrote: “Behind most procrastination is a task or activity that the person would like to get out of doing if he or she could. Often it is something that the person believes will be hard to do, unpleasant, or even painful in some way. Just the thought of it stirs up uncomfortable feelings like anxiety, dread, or anger. Procrastination is a way of shutting down those bad feelings. In this way; it is a type of self-preservation, a way to cope.

Procrastination is our comfort zone. It is where we feel the most at ease. It is familiar. We know how to do it. It does not challenge us or scare us. Procrastination gives us temporary comfort in a world full of demands and uncertainties. It is our rest stop on the long road of life and responsibilities.”

However she also wrote: “The big question is why we would want to give it up. Why do we feel guilty about it? Why do we pledge time and time again to change our way? The reason may be that procrastination worked only in the short run. It provides only temporary relief. In the long run, it does not get us where we want to go. We feel angry at ourselves for it when we step back and see the stress that it causes and how it interferes with our lives. If we could hold on to the big picture and see clearly where we want to go in life, we would choose not to procrastinate. If we could remember how much trouble it causes, we probably wouldn’t procrastinate the next time. The problem is that we are so used to using procrastination as our coping strategy that we do it automatically, without considering the big picture. In the moment, when faced with something unpleasant, we just want to detour around it, and so we avoid, delay, put off, forget about, and otherwise procrastinate on it.”

Anxiety

Alice Boyes pointed out that “Anxiety shows up as a variety of symptoms, from behavioral and emotional to physical and cognitive (which means thoughts). No anxious person has the exact same set of symptoms, but everyone has some of each type.”

THE 4 COMPONENTS OF ANXIETY EXAMPLES
Behavioral component ·         The urge to put off important but anxiety-provoking tasks.

·         The urge to keep seeking information rather than act.

·         The urge to wait for a go signal from someone else before acting.

Emotional component ·         Feeling nervous, worried, or apprehensive.
Physical component ·         Increased heart rate, sick feelings in your stomach.
Thought component ·         Fear of failure.

·         Mentally replaying events when you are worried about how other people might have perceived you.

 

She mentioned that “People feel anxious when they step out of their comfort zone. Avoid stepping outside your comfort zone would lead to living life less fully……Reducing your anxiety to zero is not possible or useful. Anxiety itself is not the problem. The problem occurs when anxiety gets to the point that it is paralyzing, and you become stuck.”

She has identified 5 anxiety traps:

  • Excessively hesitating before taking action
  • Ruminating and worrying
  • Paralyzing perfectionism
  • Fear of feedback and criticism
  • Avoidance (including procrastination).

She commented: “When people are caught in any of the 5 anxiety traps, they often fail to see the big picture and do not problem solve in effective ways. Learning how to navigate these bottlenecks will allow you to manage your anxious tendencies so that you can pursue your goals in life, whatever those goals may be……Successfully navigating anxiety involves learning how to accept, like and work with your nature rather than fighting against it…..There is nothing wrong with (someone) having a predisposition to anxiety.”

Common Traits of Procrastinators

  • I put things off and they don’t get done.
  • While I procrastinate, I still keep thinking about what I should be doing.
  • Other people are on my case for procrastinating.
  • My procrastination makes me late for lots of things.
  • I make excuses for not getting started.

6 Types of Procrastinators

Avoidant Type – They cope with stress and unpleasantness by putting things off as long as possible.

  • I avoid stressful situations and tasks.
  • When a task stresses me out, I wait until the last minute to do it.
  • I ignore unpleasant tasks until the last minute.
  • I avoid bad news.
  • I avoid information I don’t really want to hear.

Disorganized Type – They underestimate how long tasks can take and overestimate how much time they have available. They have trouble setting priorities when there is too much to do.

  • I tell myself I have plenty of time even when that is not true.
  • I have trouble getting organized.
  • I underestimate how long it will take to get things done.
  • I overestimate how much time I have available to get things done.
  • I put off tasks because I cannot concentrate.

Self-Doubting Type – They hesitate to take action because they lack confidence in their abilities. They think they will make a mistake or fail.

  • I hesitate because I am afraid of making a mistake or failing.
  • I avoid taking actions that others might not like.
  • I avoid things that I am unsure about.
  • My self-doubt and uncertainty make me postpone getting started on difficult tasks.
  • I am not always sure what decision to make, so I put it off as long as possible.

Interpersonal Type – They procrastinate intentionally as a way of making a point.

  • I hate being told what to do.
  • I intentionally procrastinate when others tell me what to do.
  • I show my displeasure by stalling.
  • I agree to do things for others that I later regret.
  • It is hard for me to say no to people.

All or Nothing Type – They take on too much and work at full speed until they run out of steam.

  • I can take on more than I can handle.
  • If I cannot do something perfectly, I won’t do it at all.
  • I get overwhelmed by too much to do.
  • I either give away my all or put things off altogether.
  • I work so hard at times that I wear myself out.

Pleasure Seeking Type – They seek to do something else that is pleasurable even though they know that they have deadlines and is running out of time.

  • I play instead of work.
  • When I don’t feel motivated, I don’t take action.
  • It is hard for me to stop doing something fun or relaxing and get back to tasks.
  • I avoid unpleasant tasks until someone does them for me.
  • I have no excuse for procrastinating.

REFERENCES

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Things Done

Written by Monica Ramirez Basco Published by The Guilford Press (www.guilford.com)

ISBN 978-1-60623-4

The Anxiety Toolkit

Written by Alice Boyes Published by the Penguin Group (www.penguin.com), under A Perigee Book

ISBN 978-0-399-16925

 

 

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