This Portobello house from RTÉ’s Home of the Year is on sale for €1.5 million
This Portobello house from RTÉ’s Home of the Year is on sale for €1.5 million

Megan Burns

Rosemary MacCabe: The weird pregnancy symptoms that people don’t tell you about because they’re too busy telling you which types of fish to avoid
Rosemary MacCabe: The weird pregnancy symptoms that people don’t tell you about because they’re too...

Rosemary MacCabe

WIN the ultimate Bare by Vogue tanning kit
WIN the ultimate Bare by Vogue tanning kit

IMAGE

6 tips for renovating a period home, from a homeowner who has done it
6 tips for renovating a period home, from a homeowner who has done it

IMAGE Interiors & Living

‘Toy Show’ treasure Adam King to star in his own animated series set in space
‘Toy Show’ treasure Adam King to star in his own animated series set in space

Sarah Finnan

The psychology of nostalgia and why we can’t get enough of it at the moment
The psychology of nostalgia and why we can’t get enough of it at the moment

Amanda Cassidy

Cool people are hanging plates on their wall again: here are some options to try, no matter what your style
Cool people are hanging plates on their wall again: here are some options to try,...

Megan Burns

The return of eyeshadow and the new launches to shop now
The return of eyeshadow and the new launches to shop now

Holly O'Neill

Center Parcs Ireland announces €85 million expansion plan including new luxury treehouses
Center Parcs Ireland announces €85 million expansion plan including new luxury treehouses

Sarah Finnan

‘Glow Up’ is coming to Ireland and they’re looking for Irish MUAs to compete in the new series
‘Glow Up’ is coming to Ireland and they’re looking for Irish MUAs to compete in...

Sarah Finnan

Image / Self / Advice

How to handle procrastination and the dread of getting things done


by Lia Hynes
25th May 2021
blank

Liadan Hynes explores the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves, including managing procrastination.

I have a friend who has suffered for years from anxiety. Intense, sometimes debilitating, anxiety.

Sometimes this friend, in the throes of anxiety, falls into procrastination. There are things to be done, but she simply cannot bring herself to do them. And then that causes her more anxiety. I get it because I’ve done it myself endlessly. For the past few years since my marriage ended, I was, like my friend, frozen around the getting of certain things done.

They’re there, right in front of you. The life tasks – the not-doing of which is causing you huge stress.

You can see over the other side of them. To that place where you wouldn’t be stressed by them. Wouldn’t wake at four in the morning and feel fired up with anxiety, or make endless to-do lists at the bottom of which those few items repeatedly languish, never actually executed.

Coping skills or coping potholes?

It feels sometimes when we are dealing with the difficult parts of life that we are navigating our way between methods of coping that are both good, and bad.

Coping skills or coping… potholes? Negative coping, as it’s sometimes described.

Things that help us get through, some of which are good for us, some of which are bad. Exercise, drink, yoga, drugs, to name a few. Whichever way we lean depends on how weak or strong we are at that moment. We’re all just doing our best in the given moment, with whatever resources we have.

I’m reading Senator Lynn Ruane’s book People Like Me at the moment. One of the main themes is the journey of a woman plotting her way through pain, and how she moves from coping methods that served to compound her hurt, to learning skills that helped her to cope with trauma, anger, and underneath that, fear. I think we maybe take for granted how important coping skills are, and how little we are taught them.

But there’s also a coping method that doesn’t require any movement towards it. It is more of a freezing. Procrastination. In a way, procrastination is the ground zero of coping methods, bad and good. You’re putting off the immediate bad (facing the task) and losing out on the eventual good (the payoff after it is done).

Getting around to it

This week, I painted the hall and one wall of the living room in my house, after they had been freshly plastered due to some repair work. Two years ago. The plastering took place two years ago. I’m only getting around to painting these walls (just two of them), now.

Strictly speaking, my brother and father stepped in and painted them for me. Partly because they probably couldn’t stand looking at the bare walls anymore, but also I asked them to help.

It’s not the greatest account of overcoming procrastination, but I made it happen. And it’s not the only thing. I’ve been ticking things off my list left, right and centre for the last two months. I’m meeting with an actual financial adviser this week (and trying not to be unbearably smug about it).

I told a friend about my procrastination around life admin stuff. What I need is three days off to just mill through it, I said, then immediately, I heard it, as she looked at me dubiously. Because we both knew that was never going to happen.

She’s also been through a separation and had experienced the same thing. Her advice was helpful. What worked for her was making lists of three things she would do every day. They could be tiny. But they started the momentum. And stopped the overall hugeness (which had built up in her head) daunting her into immobility, so she got nothing done.

Just after we separated I met a friend for coffee to get some advice. In the middle of our conversation, I felt my tooth crack. For two years I worried about it but did nothing. Late last year, I went to the dentist, fully expecting to be told there might be several extractions. Instead, there was a quick filling, all fine.

There’s probably something to be said there about things never being as bad as you fear they will be. But really this is to say, that in the middle of things, you do your best, you just get through, and if you cannot face all the things right now, you will be able to eventually. And that is good enough.

Also Read

blank
BREAKING STORIES, HEALTH & WELLNESS
‘My home is suffocating, the ash from the crematorium raining down on those who survive’

Sree Sen moved to Westport from Kolkata, India in 2019....

By Sree Sen

social media
ADVICE
Social media in a pandemic: Our need for approval is in overdrive and it’s not healthy

By Niamh Ennis

personality quiz
ADVICE
‘Are you a Rachel or a Monica?’ Why I think indecision is really my superpower

Taking an online personality quiz, Cathy Carey asks if contorting...

By Cathy Carey

Women, from their first to their last menstrual cycle, are affected by their infradian rhythm.
premium BUSINESS, HEALTH & WELLNESS
The infradian rhythm creates a 25% change in a woman’s brain chemistry – are you tracking yours?

Most of us think that being in that state of peak performance happens by accident, but what if we told you that by tracking your infradian rhythm, you could be in peak flow with “precision, predictability and reliability”?

By Leonie Corcoran

blank
PARENTHOOD
‘I was completely annihilated’: The toxic truth about ‘supportive’ online mummy groups

Bullying, shaming, demeaning… it’s not the children we should be...

By Amanda Cassidy

endometriosis
HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
‘I had to leave Ireland to get my endometriosis treated’

For far too long, the concerns of women have fallen...

By IMAGE

blank
PARENTHOOD
What you think parenting is like versus what it is actually like

Parenting is an alternate universe of things you’d never imagine...

By Amanda Cassidy