Why We Procrastinate
Do you start projects and then have a hard time finishing them? Do have ideas but can’t seem to get started on making those ideas come to fruition? What are some of your favorite methods of procrastinating? I know I am procrastinating on something really important when I start doing other things I don’t like doing. One of my least favorite chores is dusting the blinds. They are such a pain to keep clean and because they are such a pain, I typically find reasons to avoid doing that chore. But when I have something even more important to deal with that is causing me anxiety, I will find myself suddenly cleaning the blinds just to avoid working on the important yet anxiety provoking activity.
Why is that? It is because of fear. Anxiety is related to the fear state. And like I’ve written about in other blogs, fear can be handled in three ways. 1) Get mad and get into fights; 2) Run away from the problem and this can be related to procrastination. If I decide to “run” to dusting blinds instead of handling a more anxiety driven activity, I’m running away from the anxiety. 3) Freeze which is like the deer in the headlight mode. You aren’t sure what to do, run or fight so you wind up just freezing in place. That too can be related to procrastination except you probably won’t be dusting blinds either. You wind up unable to do anything. I find the freeze mode is the inability to focus on anything. I can’t concentrate to do anything and find really mindless things to do like spending too much time playing solitaire on the computer instead of doing work. .
So how do we get beyond procrastination? First step is to realize why we are procrastinating and admitting that we are doing it. Second step is to simply breathe! If you are in the fear state, you are letting that fight or flight system make the decisions and the habit created for that fear based emotions is to procrastinate. So breathe fully and add in something you are grateful for. Anything will do. It is truly amazing what simple breathing techniques can do in calming your mind down. When I work with clients, these are the first two steps and often they are the hardest ones for them to remember. If you are in your fear mind, it is really hard to access the bigger thinking brain so just working on these first two steps is key. Then we add in the other techniques once they can learn to recognize the problem and breathe.
This year we are all facing and experiencing more anxiety and difficult situations. The Year 2020 can be used as the definition in the dictionary of describing anxiety. If you want to have someone fully understand what you mean by anxiety, just say the year 2020! They’ll will immediately get it!!! But seriously, we may find ourselves dealing with more procrastination and that freeze or run away state right now and that might not be to our best interest. Try breathing and see if it helps.