Anxiety can cause you to procrastinate, or avoid completing tasks you may find unpleasant or bring on the fear of having an anxiety attack. But procrastination itself can cause anxiety, while you worry that you are not getting done what needs to be accomplished.
The following are ten tips to help you avoid procrastination:
- Set aside time every Sunday evening to plan out your week. Make a list of what you need to accomplish during the week, including any deadlines that must be met. Use an online calendar, such as google calendar, which can send you email reminders of tasks to be completed. If using a day-planner or wall calendar, color-code events based on importance and place reminders on the day before.
- Understand when you work best and plan your schedule accordingly. If you are most productive in the morning, plan important tasks then. If, on the other hand, you are slow to get moving but by afternoon are ready to roll, plan your important tasks for afternoon. Knowing your internal clock can help you to achieve your daily goals.
- Give yourself a time limit for completing unpleasant tasks. Many people can push themselves to finish a task if they know it will be done at a certain time.
- Make decisions immediately when you are able. For small jobs or decisions, it is sometimes easier to “decide later” but often later never arrives and tasks are left half done. Whenever possible, make the decision immediately and end the project.
- Complete one task each morning. When you manage to complete one task in the morning, no matter what the rest of the day brings, you can still end the day with a feeling of accomplishment.
- Break down larger projects into smaller tasks. Sometimes we procrastinate simply because a project is overwhelming. By breaking a project into small tasks, it may be easier to tackle.
- Create variety. When you have a long “to-do” list, alternate tasks you want to do with tasks you must do but don’t provide much enjoyment. By adding variety into your day, you will always have something to look forward to.
- Schedule time for completing tasks. You may need to find a time with no distractions, turn off your phone and television or hire a babysitter. Some tasks may require your complete attention; scheduling quiet time to complete these tasks can help you get them done without distractions.
- Avoid restructuring your daily schedule. Once you have decided on a plan for the day, stick to it. Sometimes, rearranging and thinking about the plan is actually a type of avoidance. Begin implementing your original plan.
- Provide yourself rewards. Allow for breaks in your schedule to give yourself a special reward for your accomplishments. Stop for a snack or allow yourself time to do something you enjoy once you have achieved your goals.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.