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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Barsky

Understanding the Link Between Anxiety and Procrastination


Have you ever found yourself putting off tasks that you know you need to complete? Maybe it’s finishing your homework, cleaning your room, or even starting a project that’s been on your mind. You’re not alone! Many people experience procrastination at some point, and it’s often linked to anxiety.


Let’s take a closer look at how anxiety and procrastination are connected.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural human emotion that everyone feels from time to time. It’s like that fluttery feeling you get in your stomach before a big test or a performance. But sometimes, anxiety can become more intense and frequent, making it hard to focus on tasks and activities. This is known as an anxiety disorder, and it can affect people in different ways.

The Procrastination Puzzle

Procrastination is when you delay or avoid doing something that needs to be done. It might seem like a small thing, but over time, it can create stress and make you feel overwhelmed. So, what does anxiety have to do with procrastination?


Imagine this: You have a project due next week, and you know you need to start working on it. But as the days go by, you find yourself avoiding it and doing other things instead. This could be a sign of anxiety. When you feel anxious about a task, your brain might start to associate that task with those anxious feelings. So, you delay working on it to avoid those uncomfortable emotions.

Fear of Failure

One common reason anxiety and procrastination go hand in hand is the fear of failure. You might worry that you won’t do a good job, and this fear can make starting the task seem even scarier. Instead of facing this fear, you might put off the task, telling yourself that you’ll do it later when you’re “more prepared.” But often, that feeling of preparedness never comes, and the task remains unfinished.

Perfectionism’s Part

Another piece of the puzzle is perfectionism. If you’re a perfectionist, you might set very high standards for yourself. While it’s great to strive for excellence, it can also lead to procrastination. You might delay starting a task because you want it to be perfect from the beginning. This pressure to be perfect can create a lot of anxiety, and as a result, you might keep putting off the task to avoid the stress.

Breaking the Cycle

So, how can you break the cycle of anxiety and procrastination? The first step is to recognize when it’s happening. If you find yourself avoiding tasks or feeling anxious about them, take a moment to acknowledge those feelings. Remember, it’s okay to feel anxious sometimes, and it's important to support yourself compassionately through it.


Try breaking the task into smaller, manageable steps. This can make the task feel less overwhelming and more achievable. Instead of thinking about the entire project, focus on one step at a time. As you complete each step, you’ll build a sense of accomplishment, which can help reduce anxiety.


It’s also important to understand how your anxiety is trying to protect you - that it's a warning against possible failure. Where did this fear of failure come from, and how can you begin to become more okay with being imperfect?

By understanding how anxiety can lead to procrastination, you can take proactive steps to tackle tasks, one step at a time.


If you’re finding that anxiety and procrastination are impacting your life more than you’d like, remember that you don’t have to face it alone. Seeking help is a brave and important step towards taking control of your well-being. Reach out to my office so I can provide you with the guidance and healing you need to overcome these challenges and lead a happier life. Your journey toward managing anxiety and beating procrastination starts with asking for support today!


For more information on anxiety treatment, check out the link!


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