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What is Procrastination? Why You Procrastinate and What You Can Do About It.

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

If you struggle with procrastination, this podcast is for you. Today we are going to talk about the 7 reasons WHY we procrastinate and what to do about it.

Several years ago I had the privilege of working with the founder and CEO of a major international company. As the company grew, so did my client’s responsibilities. Calls came in on his cellular phone all hours of the night and on the fly, multitasking became a necessity. As the pressure mounted, sleep was sent to the back burner, he started to experience heart palpitations, and he had started to put off completing tasks that required more effort. Once his symptoms got bad enough that they started to bleed into his professional life, he went to the doctor.

His psychiatrist diagnosed him with ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder and gave him a prescription for an antidepressant, Adderall and Xanax. His libido dropped on the antidepressant, the Xanax helped with the palpitations and sleeplessness but it made him feel lethargic and depressed and so he needed the Adderall to get through work. But for all the trade-offs, he was still procrastinating, and now he felt like he was losing his edge.

I want to share with you, exactly what I said to my client:

Your brain is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing, given your experience. In fact, your ability to adapt to the pressure of your circumstances is outstanding and is very likely a big part of how you have been so successful to this point.

When under stress, the healthy nervous system triggers a cascade of responses that have worked throughout human history to ensure survival. Your adrenal glands release cortisol, which gives you energy and drive. Your levels of adrenaline increase which speeds up your thoughts, your heart, and while these biological mechanisms are amazingly useful when we’re in a literal crisis, they can cause a whole host of issues in a setting where you need to sit down, focus on the task at hand, finish a project or get something done.

In the example of our CEO, his autonomic nervous system enabled him to thrive in his job. It did this by giving him quick thinking that could turn on a dime, energy to wake up and be ready at all hours of the night, hypervigilance that enabled him to detect issues rapidly, and endurance that allowed him to persevere despite exhausting hours, grueling hours, and with high-pressure decisions.

His body was doing what he had asked it to do, and untethered the nervous system can behave like a snowball rolling down a hill: Picking up speed and snow, leaving us overwhelmed, overstimulated, depleted and unable to calm down.

One of the trade-offs of being able to live like a bear is constantly tracking you, is that it becomes incredibly difficult to FOCUS, and overwhelm bleeds into your brain and body.

In response to this, your well-intended brain pushes all non-essentials to the back burner and we label ourselves as procrastinators and the cycle continues.

Procrastination is a natural response asking you to pay attention to an underlying unmet need. Our CEO was in a state of fight-or-flight, and procrastination was a mechanism by which he mitigated his stress in the short term, but in the long term the back burner became over-filled and he realized he needed a different plan of attack.

Let’s talk about the 7 most common causes of procrastination and then I’ll share with you my top 6 strategies to send procrastination backstage.

WHY WE PROCRASTINATE

1 – Anxiety

2 – Worry

3 – Uncertainty

4 – Perfectionism

5 – Resentment and anger about having to do the task

6 – Depression

7 – Overwhelmed and unclear of how to proceed

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PROCRASTINATION STRATEGIES

1 – Decide if the activity is worth it

2- Embrace uncertainty

3 – Practice making small decisions quickly

4 – Work on self-esteem and confidence

5 – Get organized

6 – Small Steps:

 

REGAIN YOUR COMPOSURE quickly even in stressful situations without popping pills or losing your cool using this 3-Minute Brain Hack for Stopping Stress and Overwhelm.

This 3-Minute Hack Gives You:

Go watch it NOW and let’s get you started on a life that sets your soul on fire.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first. Dr. Nicole Cain consults with clients locally and internationally. Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA has helped countless people take back control of their lives, and she can help you. To set up a complimentary consultation, call our office or visit https://drnicolecain.com/getting-started to schedule online.
Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational video e-courses, books, and exclusive free Facebook group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.

References:
https://www.verywellmind.com/procrastination-and-panic-disorder-2584095
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201303/6-tips-overcoming-anxiety-related-procrastination
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201906/5-anxiety-management-strategies-i-use-daily
https://qz.com/work/1584023/how-to-tell-when-procrastinating-is-actually-anxiety/