How Can Procrastination Affect Your Life?
Procrastination can lead to serious consequences in your everyday life. For example:
• Difficulty initiating a task.
• Taking longer than expected to complete a task.
• Experiencing stress that the work will, “not be good enough.”
• Causing delays that push others behind in their work.
Over time, anxiety and procrastination can have a significant impact. You may struggle in school and get poor grades. At work your boss gets on your case about incomplete assignments, causing you to receive a low-performance review. At home, your partner becomes frustrated that projects you promised to complete remain undone. The aggravating thing about procrastination is that it is not a true reflection of your talents or capabilities, but it does cause you be labeled as lazy or unreliable.
Why Do You Experience Anxiety and Procrastination?
Procrastination exists because of a fear of failure. Think about it for a moment. Have there been times in your life when you tried to take a risk, but only wound up falling flat on your face? These experiences, even as far back as childhood, can have a profound influence later on in life. It is why struggle to take the first step when you are about to start a project. Because, deep down inside, it is still a scary thing to do.
CBT and Procrastination
You can begin to work on procrastination by talking with a counselor trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT. Why use CBT? It is a process that helps you become more aware of your emotional filters, reactions to situations, and how those filters can be disassociated from reality. In particular, you’ll better understand how your emotions affect your ability to make good decisions. Once you have developed that awareness, you can make better choices so that you don’t fall into the procrastination trap.
An Example of How CBT Helps with Procrastination
Let’s look at how CBT can be beneficial. Let’s say you go to a therapist because you have been struggling at work with completing projects, and it is becoming an issue with your job. Working together, your therapist can help you to:
• Describe what happened.
• Analyzing what you were thinking and feeling when the situation occurred.
• Consider how you reacted to the situation by breaking down your emotions, behaviors, and physiological responses.
You describe how you become flooded with anxiety at work when you get a new assignment from your boss. Your supervisor intimidates you and you have had experiences in the past where you can’t please them no matter what you do. This causes you to doubt your abilities, and your heart rate and breathing become elevated. All you think about is getting chewed out by your boss.
Once you have analyzed the situation with your therapist, you can both begin to problem-solve as to how to approach these situations differently. For example:
• When getting a new assignment, take a couple of deep breaths.
• Remind yourself that you are good at your job and can do this.
• Break down the assignment into more workable chunks so it’s not overwhelming.
• Know what is in your control (doing the best work possible) and what isn’t (controlling your boss’s reaction).
As you can see, CBT helps you to make better choices about how you approach situations that cause anxiety and inspire procrastination. By working through the process with your therapist, over time, you can begin to see your irrational thinking clearly and make decisions that will help you reach your full potential. Philip specializes in treating a variety of issues related to anxiety.