We Need To Stop Procrastinating – It’s Damaging Our Mental Health

I never really considered myself as someone who was prone to procrastinating – until recently. I’m obsessive about planning and organisation so I never thought that these traits would go hand in hand with procrastination, but they 100% can.

I love to have order. Not like some sort of a-hole dictator, but having a structure in place is bae.

That could be through plotting things into my trusty Google calendar or simply knowing what I’m going to eat at a restaurant I’m visiting in several days time. But I also try and avoid immediacy at all costs.

For example, I really need to make a comprehensive list for my upcoming holiday to figure out tf I’m doing so I don’t forget anything. Really smart idea right?

Instead of just starting this list a week or two ago when I first realised it would be super helpful to do, I have put it off. I could have started adding things to that list as I remember them, but instead, I am yet to put pen to paper at all.

That list still needs to happen, and a few of the items that need to go on it are still rolling around in my head. They aren’t clouding my thoughts or causing stress necessarily, but they are there. Taking up valuable headspace.

Procrastinating, whether you notice it or not, is damaging to your mental health. All those little (or big) things you put off are still hogging parts of your brain and causing unnecessary anxiousness.

This might all sound bleeding obvious to you, but it was a recent counselling session that really opened my eyes to how much procrastinating can develop into some of the anxious behaviours I am prone to.

So what to do about it, huh? How can you stop procrastinating and free up that valuable headspace from worrying?

Breaking down tasks

I am incredibly guilty of seeing a project or “to-do” as this all-encompassing thing that needs doing at the same time but in reality, it really isn’t. Breaking down a big task into micro-tasks means that it feels less daunting to complete.

You can get on with what you feel capable of doing there and then, and the chances are you’ll exceed your own expectations. Once you get started doing something, it’s a lot easier to get it done.

Knowing our limitations

There’s nothing wrong with knowing and accepting our limits. I for one know I put things off because I don’t feel like I can do them. However, instead of continually putting it off until we have to force ourselves to face it, we need to have a word with ourselves.

If there’s anything we feel “incapable” of doing that has to be done, we need to know that help is out there. Perhaps that help is in the form of an actual human being who can support us, or maybe it’s a case of finding the time to do some research so the task at hand becomes more manageable.

If we keep putting things off because they scare/confuse/frustrate us, we’ll never be happy with the result.

Getting a grip – and getting on with it

Does anyone else procrastinate over easy tasks that could literally be done in minutes COS SAME. I think the reason I do it is that they are the easiest sorts of tasks to say “oh I’ll do you later” to.

I’ll think of something of a greater priority to get on with when actually, I’d be more productive getting those quickie tasks out of the way and then ploughing on through with the bigger stuff. Because y’know, then those silly little tasks won’t be buzzing around my head with big “TO DO” labels on their wings.

So here’s to telling procrastination to do one, and getting shit done so it’s no longer taking up the room in our heads that could be better used for lyrics from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

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4 Comments

  1. March 12, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    I’ve always thought I don’t procrastinate, but actually I do. I might make a list, but then take hours and really eke it out before ticking off some things. And leaving smaller to-do’s til later is always far too easy!

    • Cat
      March 12, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      This is 100% me. I think we MAY be the same person??

  2. April 1, 2018 / 5:14 pm

    This post is literally what I needed, especially the last point “getting a grip and getting in with it”! I find myself procrastinating a lot and it’s not like if I want to on purpose, but it keeps happening this is really helpful. For me I try to write things out and use that as a checklist to not get side tracked.

    • Cat
      April 2, 2018 / 7:49 pm

      I’m so glad you found this post and that it’s been helpful to you, it’s so fab to hear. It’s all about the lists. I need to get better at this though as I end up getting side tracked a lot!

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