It’s a hard time to be a procrastinator. Working for home, social isolation, and anxiety around Covid-19 are making it even harder for many of us to get things done.
If you have a hard time creating and maintaining structure, and regularly struggle to accomplish tasks, this often puts you at risk for higher levels of anxiety. Procrastination can also lead to boredom and internal attacks on your self esteem, both of which can increase anxiety. The loss of freedom, and the stresses of isolation or quarantine are a lot to contend with, not to mention financial and societal concerns.
If it Feels Wrong, It Might be
That small voice in your head that can tell you you are doing something wrong, might actually be worth paying attention to. Don’t shame yourself, but don’t brush it off either. Trying to force productivity while stressed can often lead us further down a path of anxiety.
Here are 9 tips I recommend to my therapy clients during the social distancing and stay-at-home orders to help them manage procrastination:
Write a schedule in your journal or planner the night before. Know what’s coming. Make sure the tasks are possible. Don’t put on too many and set yourself up to fail. Failing is what causes anxiety and depression.
Wake up and get the body moving. Don’t do this for too long, but do something. Movements helps get the endorphins in the brain flowing and that feels good. Use that boost to motivate yourself.
Nutrition is Key
Eat a healthy breakfast. Anything too heavy just feels like a drag and will make it harder to focus during the day.
Front Load Important Tasks
Use the morning hours, most people in the afternoon start fading. Even night owls might find the afternoon working hours hard until they get their second wind. So try to be productive in the front end of the day.
Designate a “Focus Space”
Have a work space with little distractions. Working from home doesn’t interhently work for a lot of people. Try to set up some sort of separate space to differentiate focused time.
Most importantly, reward yourself! Once you’ve gotten your manageable list done, make sure you have something lined up as a reward. Maybe it’s a certain meal, maybe it’s a drink, maybe it’s the pleasure of knowing that when you sit down for your tv show or video game that you won’t feel bad about yourself. That’s a great feeling!
Tell someone what you are working on. Simply putting it out the world can sometimes help. You can send it in an email or talk about it in person. Let someone know your struggle and goals.
One Day at a Time
Remember this is temporary! If you start catastrophizing and increasing your fear it will be hard to get done what you need to. So try to take deep breaths to take it day by day. None of us knows what will happen. Taking things as they come and staying in the present moment is important.
Turn on that Do Not Disturb
Stay off the phone for news checking and social media. Only use your phone for work. In fact once you’ve completed your tasks for the day then your reward can be checking all the news you want!
As I tell all my clients, hang in there. Learn about who you are and what does not work. Listen to the voice telling you something isn’t feeling right, but don’t panic and don’t judge yourself. Just try to make change during this unprecedented difficult time.
I am currently seeing clients over video chat. Please email me to setup a no cost consultation
For many of us, anxiety during this time can originate from not having all of the facts, or not knowing how to protect yourself or your loved ones. The concern of course is that paying too much attention to the news can only increase your stress levels. If you live in the Los Angeles area, KPCC has compiled a non-alarmist, fact based website focused on practical advice and measures during this difficult time. Visit the no-panic guide here. For more the most basic federal advice, visit the CDC coronavirus page.