Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

appointment-15979_1920Take out the trash please

I will in a minute.

 How about now?

 I will get to it later, don’t worry

But we do worry with some people. Seems they procrastinate when it comes to getting things done. Or maybe this is your struggle. You see the problem, but continue to put things off for a later date or time.

So why do we procrastinate when we know the results are usually negative? Is it the anxiety of doing it perfectly that keeps us from starting? Maybe, but usually there is more at work behind this negative habit.

Procrastination is about feeling good at the moment. It is giving in to the short-term pleasure to avoid the long-term task of getting something done.

Procrastination is tied to impulsivity. When stressed, the impulsive person becomes anxious and avoids dealing with the stressor. So the person does something else, other than the task at hand. All that delay creates more distress.

And when we look at procrastination, we see higher rates of depression, anxiety and lower well-being. It appears we know this is not a good trait!

So if you are a procrastinator, you need to work on time management, but also on regulating your emotions, especially when under stress. Allow yourself to feel the anxiety of a task, but work through that anxiety so you are not avoiding the task and impulsively doing something else you enjoy more. Expose yourself to that anxiety time and again until you are more comfortable sticking with the task. Practice matters.

Set small goals to complete along the way and focus on the steps to the end. Have a vision for where you want to go and see yourself getting it done. Over time, you will learn not to be driven by emotions and avoidance. Instead, you can regulate those emotions in order to accomplish the task.

If this feels daunting, work with a behavior therapist who can walk you through the process and help you stop procrastinating. With God’s help, you can tackle anything!

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