6 tips to help you manage your anxieties that lead to procrastination

You’ve taken on a new project, full of excitement about the possibilities, agreed to deadlines and there’s a clear idea in your mind of what you intend to do and how great its going to be.

You want the project to be amazing and deliver on so many levels but things get in the way of you starting it. When you do start the project, you find its not going as well as you want it to. You feel something is missing you need more facts, more research, more inspiration and detail and then the project gets bogged down and stuck.

The more you put into it, the more holes you seem to see in it, the more you have to look and dig deeper to find that piece of information or idea or thought that will take it to the next level.

As the days tick down to the deadline, the dread starts to creep in. You find your attention shifting to other projects; to more pressing directions, as there will always be time to finish it off tomorrow.

The deadline arrives and you rush through wrapping up the project and you hand it in ruminating on what is missing, what could be better, the flaws that only you seem to see in it. You berate yourself for missing an opportunity to do something really good and not giving yourself the time to do it.

Sound familiar?

Do you often feel dissatisfied with your achievements as there is always a belief it could be better or you could have done more with it?

Do you find faults – even small ones – and then berate yourself for these and somehow these overshadow any satisfaction or sense of achievement?

Does the journey, all the hard work you did get lost, as all that matters is what you’ve produced – the end result?

At times this striving to do your best, to be perfect even, can get in the way of things. It can affect your ability to start things you would like to in life. It can affect your ability to complete or get things done.

Its not surprising as all that weight of expectation, scrutiny of your work and of yourself can become exacting and exhausting. This can lead projects at work or issues in your life to loom large, become so much bigger and more complex in your mind that you understandably are unable to finish them in a timely fashion or end up putting them off.

Behind all of this can be a fear of not completing the task perfectly enough to satisfy the scrutiny that you feel will be brought to bear on it. The difficulty is your own internal expectations can become so exacting that whatever you do however much effort you put in it’s never good enough. Added to this is the belief that others will scrutinize, judge or criticize your work just as much as you do. It is understandable how all of this can make it feel difficult for you to let go of the project, finish it off or pass it over to others.

What can you do about it?

  1. Be aware of your own unrealistic expectations– it can be helpful to jot down the best and worst case scenario and a middle-ground, or realistic, case scenario in terms of outcome – seeing a more realistic set of goals or expectations can help you focus when your doubts and anxieties kick in.
  1. Remind yourself that things do not have to be perfect, there is never an optimal time or way to get things done, trust in the knowledge you have at this point and allow yourself the opportunity for developing as you progress.
  1. Remind yourself of the journey you are on, the tasks you have completed and what you are achieving and learning as you go along. Learning comes from experience can be as enriching and satisfying as the final outcome. Take time to reflect on your learning in downtime from the project.
  1. Eliminate distractions – put your phone on airplane mode, block yourself or even firewall distracting websites. Gather together what you require for the project and allow yourself a space to focus.
  1. Put some boundaries in – think what is a realistic and effective use of your time on this project – break the whole project down into smaller tasks and allow yourself a timeframe to work on each section.
  1. As you work your way through each step – allow yourself a moment of recognition of your achievement in passing that small step along the way. If you notice spending longer than you initially allowed on a step try to pause and step back to understand why. Remind yourself of the realistic outcome for that step to complete it and then move on. Focus only on the work at hand.

You may try to implement these ideas and still find your issues are unresolved. If you really think about it, you may have noticed these thoughts and fears around getting things right or worries about how you are seen impact on other areas of your life or personal relationships. This could indicate deeper unresolved issues that are affecting you. In this instance it would be helpful to think about this with a professional to help you make change in your life.


Mark Tonkinson




Category : Anxiety & Meditation for Men & Men's Coaching and Counselling & Procrastination

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