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lostinyoureyes's avatar

How do I get rid of the dread that comes with starting tasks?

Asked by lostinyoureyes (1121points) October 19th, 2010

This is a subtopic of procrastination I guess.

I often have this overwhelming feeling of dread when I have to do anything, even if it’s something I enjoy doing—this feeling like I won’t ever be able to finish anything and if I do it will suck anyway. Any tips? Thank you.

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7 Answers

josie's avatar

Begin immediately before you have time to dread.

xxii's avatar

Sometimes I also split the task up into really tiny, manageable slices, and try to tackle them one at a time.

YARNLADY's avatar

I doubt that you can, but the trick is to just wade right in, and it turns out it wasn’t so bad after all. To me, it’s sort of like going into a cold swimming pool, you get used to it right away.

woodcutter's avatar

maybe you are concerned it won’t turn out just so, so you would rather sit on it for a while until you get all your ducks in a row so it will turn out exquisitely. That’s what I use for a reason. No sense in going off half cocked and having to except mediocrity…right?

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes I wonder about this “fear.” I suspect that it’s not so much fear as resentment. When you start a project, you are committed to following it through. It really doesn’t matter whether you think you can succeed or not. The problem is that it commits you to action, and then you’ll resent it when you can’t just fluther because you now have to do this thing.

Procrastination is a kind of free time thing. You can spend the time however you want because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. You can read, see a movie, eat chocolate, make love, whatever. But as soon as you start the project, all that stuff is no longer available to you. You now have to delay gratification.

I think many of us are very resentful when we have to delay gratification. So we avoid doing things because it means we can continue to be gratified. Except we call gratification “wasting time.” So we mess ourselves up because we’d much rather “waste” time than do something “productive.” We denigrate what we like doing and make ourselves feel bad for doing what we like doing—all so we can motivate ourselves to carpe diem and do what needs to be done.

Tips? That’s a tough one. I guess understanding what is going on is a start. It isn’t fear of success or failure or whatever. It’s resentment (if this theory holds any water). How do we let go of resentment? Well, the only thing I know of is mindfulness. Observe the feeling and don’t be attached to it. You can feel it, but try to let it go. It’s not a useful feeling. It’s ok to be resentful. You can’t really not be resentful. But you don’t have to let the resentment rule your life.

You can be open to the new experiences of doing the project you will work on. I emphasize doing because that is what matters—how you spend your time; not what the result is. Your resentment comes from being taken away from one way of spending time and having to do another. The antidote to this resentment is to appreciate the new thing you are doing. To really get into it. It is just as interesting as whatever else you were doing when you were “wasting” time.

This kind of thing takes a lot of practice. Mindfulness is a different way of relating to life. You stop making judgments because making judgments about who you are is useless. You open yourself to appreciating other things. You may even come to the realization that the different ways of spending time are not competitors. They are both good. You need not feel bad about yourself for procrastinating or whatever, because you aren’t doing that. You are spending your time in a way you choose.

Now you choose to spend your time another way and you will practice appreciation. In this, no task is any better or worse than any other. They are all equally delightful, whether you are cleaning the toilet, playing music, designing a new car, cleaning the house or whatever.

Oh well. I feel like I’ve gone round the bend once again. I hope this makes some kind of sense, but you know what? Who cares? I had fun writing it and was totally involved in writing it, and that feels good. I’m not going to beat myself up for not doing something else. Been there. Done that. Will probably go back again. But for this moment, I am done with beating myself up.

Megaperceptiva's avatar

Try to do your activities as fast as you can, but spend enough time to get it right the first time around.
Remember to take it one step at time.

krista_ga22's avatar

Im not sure how, but if you find out, please let me know! : )

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