Breaking through an Episode of Dysfunctional Procrastination
Do you suffer from dysfunctional procrastination? If deadlines paralyze you, then you might be the way I was when I was a teenager. I certainly know what it's like to experience anxiety about looming deadlines, overdue assignments, and growing task lists. It can be paralyzing. When I was younger, dysfunctional procrastination essentially crippled me and set profound barriers to the possibilities available to me in life.
If this is the case with you, then I've got some personal advice that I would like to share with you. Here it is.
The best approach to to confronting dysfunctional procrastination is to just set yourself a task of doing something small... something quick. This could be just opening up an assignment and reading it.
Then (and this is the key to truly breaking through the anxiety of dysfunctional procrastination) you trick yourself into doing just a little bit more than your initial small goal: perhaps you might just answer one question within an assignment. You then experience just a little bit of a rush associated with doing more than your initial goal.
Now you've felt the rush. The high. So you do that again: you set another small goal, you do it, and perhaps you go just a little beyond your goal. You feel another rush. Repeat.
Before you know it, you break through your anxiety and you get into a flow state.
The Bright Side of Dysfunctional Procrastination: Work-Ahead Motivation
If you suffer from dysfunctional procrastination, then you may actually experience the benefit of the opposite syndrome: work-ahead motivation.
Think for a moment about the satisfaction you would get from getting all of your Christmas shopping done... in November! It would feel great, right? You would be done early, you would avoid the rush, the worry, the crowds, the stress, etc.
Now think about doing the exact same shopping... in late December! It's the exact same work, but it would feel like an anxious rush, with lots of stress and very little enjoyment or satisfaction.
However, unless you were to actually try doing all of your shopping in November, you would never ever come to realize how good it can feel. You would likely just think of Christmas shopping as inherently stressful.
It's the same with school work.
If you suffer from dysfunctional procrastination, then I would encourage you to pick one course to work ahead on. I mean ludicrously ahead: weeks or even months ahead. Let yourself experience how it feels to do school work without the weight of crippling anxiety hanging on your shoulders. If you're at all like me, that approach will open up a whole new world of productivity and possibility.
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