Is Anxiety Stopping You from Getting Stuff Done?


Emotions, emotions, emotions…

Yes, your emotional state can effect your productivity. If you are overwhelmed with a high level of stress, you may put off completing tasks to check Facebook or watch one episode of your favourite Netflix series. This may seem like a small amount time, but this distraction is a powerful emotional coping mechanism, says Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. If you don’t think you can face the challenge, you may choose to avoid it with activities that are more fun.

Netflix = Fun!

but may not be the best way to get stuff done

I am the BIGGEST advocate of balance, so I am not saying that you should not check Facebook or watch Netflix, just plan for it in your time. Know yourself and what happens when you choose the distraction before the work. I know that if I lie to myself and say, “I will just watch one episode and then get started”, I won’t get anything done. Work first play later, reward yourself after the work is my advice, but still do both 🙂

Oh yeah, it’s that time again.

PsychNerd Time! 

Brain Nerd

Did you know that the simple act of forgiving yourself can help you to move past procrastination? I know! So simple!

Researchers, Wohl et al. (2010), wondered if self-blame may be counter-productive. They studied students preparing for mid-term exams and wondered if there was any truth to the notion of letting ourselves off easy led to even more procrastinations. NOPE! they found the opposite!

“Forgiveness allows the individual to move past their maladaptive behaviour and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts to hinder studying”

Forgiveness starts with acceptance and understanding. Why are you procrastinating? Are you worried about not knowing what to do? Do you feel that you may not be able to complete the task well? Ask yourself why you are avoiding the work. No, you are not a bad person, you are actually trying hard to cope with a difficult situation. Good work! Let’s learn how to cope in a way that also allows you to get your work done so that you can feel better 🙂

Have You Heard About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

This therapeutic method could offer you some insight into how your thoughts effect your feelings and your behaviour. Part of the CBT process is to identify unhelpful patterns of thinking. For example, someone might only notice the negative things that happen to them and not notice the positive things. Or, someone might set unrealistic standards for themselves, such as “making mistakes is unacceptable.” Your thoughts can effect your emotions which then can shape your behaviours. It’s important to identify unhelpful behaviours that maintain procrastination, such as avoiding certain situations and withdrawing from others. What are the thoughts that lead to these emotions and behaviours?

Well…here is a guide to help!

10 Unhelpful Thinking Patterns

Here is the list of 10 Common Unhelpful Thinking Patterns that human beings experience. Yes, we all experience one or more of these patterns at some point in our lives. The work is in the ability to recognize the pattern and balance the thought to make it more realistic.

Try This Today!

  1. Read over the “Labelling Your Thoughts” resource.
  2. Highlight the thought patterns that you recognize in yourself.
  3. Try to notice when you are thinking this way (hint: your emotional state can tell you that you are thinking in an unhelpful way).
  4. Ask yourself, “is this true?” or “am I only seeing the negative side?” or “am I using Emotional Reasoning and not checking in with my rational thoughts?
  5. See if this changes how you feel in the moment.

Understanding why you are procrastinating can help you to forgive yourself and move on to more productive ways of coping.

Video Break

Instead of procrastinating with Netflix, try watching this video instead. At least you are learning something new that can help with your procrastination!

Matt Cutts offers this short, lighthearted TedTalk that can offer you new ways to think about setting and achieving goals. Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? He suggests that you try it for 30 days.

  3 Inspiring Pieces of Advice for Today…

  1. Never stop being curious about what you are made of. Take on those challenges.
  2. Please take risks! If you win you will be happy; if you lose you will be wise. There is no negative outcome when you push yourself 🙂
  3. “What you think you become; what you feel you attract; what you imagine you create” Buddha

Inner Strength.jpg


Dr. Heather Drummond,  C.Psych.

Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * Human Muddling Through



  1. It was a funny coincidence for this to be the topic for today, I’ve been thinking about this a lot and forgiveness and procrastination do totally go hand in hand. It came as a surprise to see this pop up in my inbox lol. My biggest form of procrastination is sleep! I love sleep. Napping is a great hobby. lol. But then hating on myself for sleeping is not the greatest feeling either, but with what you’ve said here, maybe trying to realize what I am doing that causes me to procrastinate and why it does. Whoa, more thinking, more procrastinating to think, this is huge!
    Thanks Heather (^v^)

  2. This topic holds so much truth. As a student, often times we are so overwhelmed by all the work and readings and studying that we want to avoid it. We should be tackling it the best we can and then rewarding with the things we love to do instead of using them for procrastination. Napping always kills me when im feeling stressed and people always tell me you are supposed to sleep at night!! This is something I am mindfully working on…

    1. Cassandra, sounds like you are taking such a mindful approach to your life. Great work! It is a process for sure, but it seems like you are doing exactly what you need to be doing to unfold your best life 🙂

  3. This was actually really helpful. I always put things off but never really think about the long lasting consequences.

    1. Hi Stephanie! I know, sometimes procrastination feels so good in the moment, solves the problem (temporarily) of feeling overwhelmed. It is those long term consequences that get us 😉 Thanks so much for your feedback!

  4. Very helpful post. I procrastinate the most when I feel overwhelmed. I am notorious for saying “i’ll just watch one more show” or “i’ll check a few posts on Facebook” Those few minutes turn into hours. Thanks for the suggestions on how to not procrastinate!

    1. Hi Nicole! Yes, it is so easy to distract ourselves when we are overwhelmed. I know this strategy very well 😉 90% of the solution is knowing that you do this. I am glad that you found the suggestions helpful.

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