Short answer: yes. Your mental health is causing you to procrastinate. It’s normal and very common.
We procrastinate more when going through hard times, even if we are used to being productive and organized.
For many years, I have been dealing with anxiety (and some seasonal depression); but since I’m more used to dealing with anxiety, I have learned how to be more productive when I just want to procrastinate.
A different story is when I go through periods when I feel depressed or stressed. My head is in such a dark place that I can barely do the most basic things, in which case I just give myself time to get better.
If you are wondering why you procrastinate so much, there might be other reasons behind it. Maybe it’s a way that your mind is telling you that there’s something more going on.
Now, you don’t have to have a mental disorder to procrastinate, but you are definitely more susceptible to procrastination when your mental health is declining. Both cases aren’t mutually exclusive.
Also, chronic procrastination is a real thing. So even if you have mental health issues than can affect your productivity, it is not always related to that.
Usually when we procrastinate its because we want to avoid doing a task, we have a fear of failure, we’re frustrated, or we have self-doubt and/or anxiety (among other reasons).
If you aren’t used to procrastination, and you suddenly start doing it, then you must ask yourself why. Maybe you started a new job. Maybe you aren’t taking enough breaks, or something in particular is giving you anxiety.
Try to find the root of the problem. That makes it easier to fix, or at least, to control.
For example, if you procrastinate responding to emails, ask yourself why you are having such an aversion to the task. What are you scared of? Why are you trying to avoid it?
Since I have dealt with anxiety for so many years, I have learned how to control it. It’s easier for me now to find the root of the problem and work around it.
For example, writing this post took me a while. Why? I wasn’t confident enough to write it and I didn’t think my opinion on this matter was relevant. Then I told myself that this is something I go through a lot and that my readers might find it helpful, or at least they could relate to it.
So what did I do to overcome procrastination? I simply took more time to write it. More breaks than usual, and try to do things that would help me to feel more confident and inspired to write. Like listening to music, and meditation.
When you take the time to get to know yourself, you find the answers to fix the issue.
What Can You Do To Get Procrastination Under Control?
First of all, don’t feel bad or upset with yourself if you are procrastinating. It’s very common and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. It just happens here and there.
As I like to say, we aren’t productivity machines, and we need breaks.
1. Ask Yourself Why You Are Procrastinating
Sometimes it’s something in particular that is causing you to postpone certain task. So ask yourself, why you are feeling like that? What can you do to make it better?
In my case, taking several breaks in between the task helps me to get things done. I would take longer, but at least I would get it done.
Another thing that I do is to break down the task into smaller assignments. That helps me to get things done easier rather than just postponing it until I feel like doing it.
2. Be Creative
Sometimes by doing stuff in a different way, it can help you out with your procrastination. What do I mean by that? For example; if you need to study, use colors or any other material to make it more fun (like colorful post-it).
Or keep it as simple as you want so it doesn’t feel tedious. Whatever you need to complete the task.
That’s why its so important to know yourself and the reasons why you are procrastinating. That way you can find creative ways to overcome it.
3. Get Professional Help
Even though I’m that kind of person that tries to figure it out all by myself, asking for help might be the best way to go.
This is especially true if you feel that things are getting out of control or you know there’s other stuff to unpack about your current mental health.
You can find more tips about procrastination on these two posts: How To Stop Procrastinating With 5 Simple Steps and The Top 7 Productivity Tips For The Die Hard Procrastinator.