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.

"Dear Eating Disorder": Breaking the Eating Disorder Cycle, Healing and Recovery (Part 4 of 4)

ED blog #4.jpg

by julia vickers, almft

Dear Eating Disorder,

I know we’ve thought about having a secret relationship indefinitely, but I’ve learned more about you recently and I know you have tried to protect and care for me, but I am learning new ways to take care of myself and there isn’t a whole lot of space for you anymore.

Breaking the Eating Disorder Cycle:

Healing and Recovery

I remember when it came time to make a New Years resolution, something had to change. There were a two things on my list that year: You must eat normal meals everyday. Share your secret. I knew these two resolutions would help me on a practical level with breaking the restricting cycle.

I had read enough information by this point to recognize that I was destroying my metabolism which would only lead to continual yo-yo weight gain and loss. If I destroyed my metabolism, my whole body and mind would continue to suffer which would allow my disordered eating to take center stage. This would hinder any emotional healing that I badly desired to happen but was horrified to face.

Second, I had to tell someone. My sister had moved home and I told her what was going on. Hearing it aloud was powerful. The allusion of all it falsely offered began to crumble. My ED’s thoughts were still a constant struggle but I had someone to be a listening ear. It was life-changing to not be judged. Feeling someone else not judge me helped me begin practicing what it felt like to accept myself struggles and all. To accept that trying is good enough and that sometimes trying again and again is all you have. I wanted to love myself and I wasn’t going to give up. While some parts of myself were easy to love, others not so much, but I knew I couldn’t be preferential with this love. All of me needed my love. All of me needed to be known and accepted.

Remember how I mentioned that I was learning new ways of taking care of myself? Well, I have made a few changes and they are here to stay.

6 Habits I slowly changed:

1.) I ate meals with people I loved.

2.) I Opened up when I felt insecure and want to binge or restrict. This took the edge off. Transparency was key.

3.) I wrote down what my ED “told” me and made new mantras such as: “Make choices because you love yourself”

4.) I drank more water. Staying hydrated helped me distinguish when I was hungry vs. eating for other reasons.

5.) I educated myself through researching the effects of eating disorders on the mind and body and committed to a “no short-cuts” lifestyle. (Absolutely no restricting)

6.) I rest more. I let go of feeling guilty about napping instead of exercising and decided to trust the signals my body was giving me.

If you need the support of a licensed therapist for disordered eating, or a difficult relationship with food - call julia today at 630-480-0060 x 704 or fill out the “Get In Touch” form on our contact page.

Help is only one step away!