Does Your Anxiety Make You Procrastinate or Pre-crastinate?

Are you being productive or is it a case of pre-crastination?

Are you being productive or is it a case of pre-crastination?

By Kristy Gargano, LSW

When I was in high school, I was a procrastinator. Sometimes it was so bad that I wouldn’t do assignments at all. At that time I just thought it was “normal” teenage stuff; lack of motivation…blah blah blah. Maybe that was only part of it.

I think my struggle in high school impacted me so much that when I found myself in college a bit later than my peers, the exact opposite happened. I found myself getting assignments, big and small, done as early as possible. Not only that, but I was a perfectionist (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still working on this). Even through grad school in my late 20’s I struggled with not slowing down. I wanted assignments done, because anything left undone for too long had me feeling so uncomfortable that the anxiety would sometimes be unbearable.

While all my procrastinator people out there might see “getting things done quickly” as a good thing, it is still anxiety driven, and can have negative ramifications.

But “What is PRE-crastination” you ask? Pre-crastination was a term that David Rosenbaum, Lanyun Gong, and Cory Adam Potts at Penn State came up when conducting a study on how humans and animals perform tasks. If you do a quick Google search of pre-crastination, you’ll find articles right away, but I’ll let you look more into this on your own. Simply put, procrastination is putting things off and pre-crastination is getting things done very quickly.

Although pre-crastination sounds ideal, it has its pitfalls.

When you get a disgruntled text from a friend or family member, do you respond to it right away?

Responding to someone hastily can lead to more problems by not pausing to think of the outcome. Getting things done too quickly may also lead to putting in more effort than necessary. If left with too much time to complete a school assignment or work project, you might spend more hours working on the task, possibly even finishing it and then going back later to modify an already great outcome.

Whether you are a procrastinator or a pre-crastinator, the goal is to pace yourself with tasks in order to manage anxiety and not get too overwhelmed.

5 practical ways to manage anxiety

(with tasks and projects)

  1. Know your anxiety triggers: First and foremost, know when your anxiety is in the driver seat. Anxiety is intended to protect us, and keep us alert, but when it comes to getting tasks done, anxiety is our nemesis.

  2. Manage anxiety: deep breathing to lower your heart rate, listen to calming music, do a body scan meditation to get that tension in check.

  3. Create a task list: Break big tasks into smaller ones and put a reasonable limit on how much time is spent on each task (procrastinators may put in less time and pre-crastinators more time, so keep this in mind). This will help you pace yourself and act as a reminder that the task will end, especially if it’s something less than enjoyable.

  4. When possible, find a work environment that is relaxed and less distracting: I don’t know about you, but when my house is a mess, so is my brain. I can be realllllly good at the “I should really clean before doing a, b and c”. Finding a space free of clutter, or even leaving the house will help stay focused on the task.

  5. Schedule, schedule, schedule! : If your schedule is a very busy one, this makes getting tasks done a bit easier, at least in my mind, because your time has already been limited for you. With too much down time, it can be easier to put things off until the last minute, OR use all the time in the world to get something done. Again, set a reasonable schedule for your week. You might find yourself more productive than you thought! If you’re a pre-crastinator, schedule time to do something relaxing, because it can be terribly hard to slow down. Perhaps just sit and enjoy some tea or coffee.

If you need the support of a compassionate counselor who knows how to manage anxiety in, call Kristy today at 630-480-0060 x 706 or fill out the “Get In Touch” form on our contact page.

Tips for Surviving the Winter Months

Everyone is prone to feeling more sad, sluggish, and tired during the long winter months.

Everyone is prone to feeling more sad, sluggish, and tired during the long winter months.

By Meghan Lorier, LPC

Endless days of gray skies, below freezing temperatures, and no greenery in sight - it can all make you feel a bit down. And for some people, the drabness of winter weather can make mental health symptoms more challenging. Read on for some practical tips to help beat the winter blues!

Another week of below freezing weather?! Is anyone else ready for some warmer and sunnier days? Though the winter brings the beauty of snow, the comfort of hot chocolate by the fire, and family gatherings during the holidays... winter can also bring sadness, isolation, and fatigue. Though the winter months may feel discouraging, there are things that we can do in order to help make those months life-giving rather than life-draining. Here are three ideas to make this winter a little brighter...

  1. Sunlight - Even if it is only for a few minutes each day, natural sunlight (even when it's cold!) can improve our mood and energy level. Whether that's walking your dog or spending a few minutes outside during your lunch break - anything counts! If natural sunlight seems too hard to find each day, you can also purchase a sun lamp and put it somewhere such as your bedroom or office. Any sunlight is better than no sunlight!

  2. Exercise - Exercise is another way to boost our mood and is effective in improving happiness and self confidence. Exercising during the winter will fight against the temptation to hibernate and isolate from others by increasing your energy level during the day and the added bonus of a better night’s sleep. This could be anything from a trip to the gym, a 30 minute walk after work, or an at-home video workout. 

  3. Community - Community is another important factor to surviving the winter months. It can be easy to avoid people when we will discouraged or sad, but prioritizing friendships and social connections is crucial to improving your mood. We all want to feel loved and accepted, and in order to feel those, we have to be willing to be in relationships. Make it a goal to spend time with a loved one once a week and see what that can do for you!

I know that habits or new things can be hard to start when you’re already feeling sad, have low-energy, or just feel pessimisstic. However, trying at least one of these tips in the next few days might truly turn around the winter blues for you!

If you notice that your mood is worse in the post-holiday season between December and the end of March, and need help coping - please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can call me at at 630-480-0060 x. 708 or email me at