We all have laundry list of to-dos and a million and one things we’d love to accomplish my Thursday at 3PM. Sometimes that list becomes so massive and unrealistic that we do the only thing possible: shut down.
Maybe not everyone does this. If you’re one of the people who just bum rushes that list like the bad ass you are, here is your high five and internet fireworks because that is impressive! If you’re one of the many who sees the list growing and hides in a proverbial blanket fort binging Netflix while trying to color away the list, then hello! We are two peas in a pod.
As I’m journeying to find what exactly has been shaking up my good vibes I received some interesting comments. One in particular really resonated with me and got my brain churning again. In summary, it said that sometimes we get uneasy because we’re avoiding things we should be doing.
Ding-ding-ding! We have another trigger identified! Just like that I had an epiphany. The internal dialogue went a little like this: “hey, you avoid doing things all the time for various reasons. You feel mentally awful when you do. Perhaps, I dunno, STOP DOING THAT?!?”
Oh how I wish it were that simple. Just start doing the things I was supposed to do. For some reason, it’s not. Avoidance is so ingrained into my repertoire of coping mechanisms that it’s second nature. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until the damage is done.
What do I do? Well I’m not sure yet.
First, I need to make an important distinction. Avoidance and procrastination are similar but very different in purpose. Procrastination is putting something off until last minute either because we feel we can get it done quickly, we don’t really care, or whatever the situation may be.
Avoidance, however, is procrastination in the extreme as a coping mechanism. It’s like seeing the sink of dirty dishes and the empty cabinets but still walking to the other room whistling Over the Rainbow. Avoidance is normal for people suffering from anxiety and depression! If you’re having the same issue, don’t feel alone or despair. We will get through and better this habit!
Interestingly avoidance is also a form a self-destructive behavior as it usually in particularly bad cases leads to not doing something until it literally cannot wait any longer and negative consequences have already been dealt.
Ok so now that we know those fun little facts we can move forward with not doing it as much anymore or as severely!
Here’s my plan in short!
- Brain dump everything that I need or want to do. All of it. Every single pestering thought cluttering up my psyche.
- Prioritize based on that I need in the immediate future. I have the tendency to prioritize based on long term and then leave short term stuff behind until it gets naggingly important. I want to stop doing that.
- Be flexible with my list. It’s OK if I have to readjust midway through or even after 1 item. In fact I need to embrace that I have zero control over the universe. I can only adapt.
- Keep the list short. No more than 4 items per list. Even if it means making dozens of lists. Only the most important 3-4 items so I don’t overwhelm and shut myself down.
It is going to take me a long time to stop avoiding most of the time and I don’t know I’ll ever stop forever. That’s ok though. I’ll do my best. Practice better habits. Acknowledge my shortcomings. One step at a time and by granting myself some grace.
We all have unhealthy habits of some sort, I just happen to collect them! 😂
Thank everyone going on this journey with me! It’s an adventure unlike any I’ve had before!
Do you find yourself avoiding things? How do you break the cycle?
I love hearing your thoughts and stories!