Do you often feel overwhelmed when starting a project?

Is your to do list long?  All the time?

Do you find yourself engaging in all sorts of other distracting activities as opposed to starting your to do list or a project?

Do you feel frustrated at the end of a weekend or holiday because you didn't accomplish as much as you would like?

Remember Anne? Her avoidance behaviour occurred due to a variety of thoughts. Most commonly the theme that categorized her thoughts was her fear of failure: "I'll never be able to complete this project on time" or "I won't do a good job".

This behaviour was also be connected to Anne's belief that she wasn't competent (see imposter syndrome): "How can I present in front of this group?  As soon as I start talking everyone will realize I'm a fraud".

You may recall from our discussion last week on clinical perfectionism how our unrealistic expectations can hinder our performance. Anne had the thoughts: "I should never make mistakes" and "That miscalculation I made on the spreadsheet is going to destroy the department's credibility".  Indeed, when you check and recheck and then check and recheck over and over again spending 2 hours on a task that takes someone else 20 minutes to complete, it makes sense that you might feel overwhelmed when confronted with a new project.

The topic of procrastination comes up in many contexts. Sometimes it arises when someone wants to work on organization and time management, and other times it is in the context of clinical perfectionism or Imposter syndrome. This is also a common issue that is explored in the context of anxiety. CBT can help target the source of your procrastination behaviour and teach you how to generate strategies to address it thereby making people more efficient and helping to achieve a greater sense of self-efficacy.

Next time we will talk more about time management.

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