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Anxiety and Procrastination: How They’re Connected and What to Do About It – Solving Procrastination

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the connection between anxiety and procrastination, including how anxiety can lead to procrastination in various ways, and how procrastination can also increase anxiety, leading to an anxiety-procrastination cycle. It also covers important caveats about this relationship, such as the fact that anxiety doesn't always lead to procrastination, and that other factors besides anxiety can also cause procrastination. The article then provides information about different forms of anxiety, the difference between anxiety and fear, and the link between anxiety and neuroticism. Finally, it offers various techniques that can be used to deal with anxiety-based procrastination.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The connection between anxiety and procrastination

1. How can anxiety cause people to procrastinate?

  • Anxiety can increase people's aversion to a task by increasing the negative emotions they associate with it.
  • Anxiety can make people worry more about a task, leading to issues like overthinking, feeling overwhelmed, and being unsure how to start, especially in the face of uncertainty.
  • Anxiety can cause people to ruminate more, making them preoccupied with painful thoughts about the past while distracting them from the future.

2. How can procrastination also increase anxiety?

  • Procrastination can make people feel anxious or exacerbate existing anxiety, leading to an anxiety-procrastination cycle where anxiety leads to procrastination, which in turn makes them more anxious.

3. What are some important caveats about the relationship between anxiety and procrastination?

  • The relationship is complex, with various factors like self-efficacy and mindfulness moderating the influence of anxiety on procrastination.
  • Anxiety doesn't always lead to procrastination, as some people are able to act in a timely manner even when anxious.
  • Other things besides anxiety can also cause procrastination, such as abstract goals, depression, and ADHD.

[02] Anxious procrastination

1. How can the term "anxious procrastination" be used?

  • It can refer to procrastination that is primarily driven by anxiety.
  • It can refer to procrastination that involves postponing things despite an intention to work on them and awareness that the delay is irrational and self-defeating.

2. How does anxious procrastination differ from hedonistic procrastination?

  • Anxious procrastination involves delaying due to fears and anxieties, while hedonistic procrastination involves postponing things voluntarily due to prioritizing enjoyable activities or lack of caring.

3. What is the practical importance of distinguishing between different types of procrastination?

  • The exact categorization is not as important as understanding that anxiety and similar issues can cause procrastination, but other issues can also lead to procrastination, such as prioritizing short-term enjoyment over long-term achievement.

[03] Additional information about anxiety

1. What are some different forms of anxiety?

  • Anxiety can vary in intensity, frequency, and when it occurs.
  • People can experience anxiety related to specific tasks, topics, domains, consequences of performance, others' evaluation, and general social interactions.

2. What is the difference between anxiety and fear?

  • Fear is an emotional response to a specific and immediate threat, while anxiety is a response to a more ambiguous and uncertain future threat.
  • Fear is more likely to trigger an immediate and active response, while anxiety is more likely to prompt caution and observation.

3. How is anxiety linked to neuroticism?

  • Increased anxiety is linked to the personality trait of neuroticism, which reflects the tendency to be prone to negative emotions and stress.
  • However, the link between neuroticism and procrastination as a whole is fairly weak, likely due to the complexity of the relationship.

[04] Dealing with anxiety-based procrastination

1. What should someone do if they suffer from severe anxiety or an anxiety disorder?

  • They should seek help from a licensed professional, such as a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, who can advise on proper treatment, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

2. What is the "inquiry-based stress reduction" technique, and how can it help with anxiety-based procrastination?

  • It involves identifying a stressful thought, questioning its truth, reflecting on its causes and effects, and trying to perceive reality without the distortions caused by the thought.
  • This can help reduce the anxiety associated with the thought and procrastination.

3. What are some other techniques that can help deal with anxiety-based procrastination?

  • Questioning and addressing fears, preparing for future contingencies, giving permission to make mistakes, breaking work into small steps, starting with tiny steps, using starting rituals, switching between tasks, scheduling work according to productivity cycles, improving the work environment, building a supportive social network, getting enough rest, developing self-efficacy, forgiving past procrastination, and developing self-compassion.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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