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Arlin Cuncic

Getting Things Done When You Have SAD

By April 14, 2013

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Like there is too much to do and too little time? All the time?

I go through these phases I'm sure like anyone else. This month the to-do list is unmanageably long and time is short. Such is life with a not-yet-toddler. Actually he's not even crawling or sitting yet, so I am pretty much his only source of entertainment.

For those with social anxiety disorder (SAD), having a lot to do can also bring out an aspect of the disorder that doesn't get talked about too much. Procrastination!

How do those with SAD procrastinate? Procrastination is in essence a form of avoidance. People with SAD avoid anything to do with social or performance situations.

So you might procrastinate...

  • Making a work phone call
  • Starting work on a speech
  • Calling a friend
  • Talking to a supervisor
  • Leaving the house
  • Going shopping
  • Going to the bank

You might even procrastinate in less obvious ways....

If you fear the judgment of others, you might procrastinate....

  • Choosing gifts
  • Planning meals for guests
  • Starting an essay for school
  • Even eating!

The list is endless.

Social anxiety wreaks havoc with your ability to get things done, because you are constantly thinking about how others will perceive what you do, what you say, how you look or what you choose.

Part of overcoming the disorder is learning to a) understand and accept that others care less than you think they do (through cognitive-behavioral therapy), and b) get to the point that you can let the feelings of being judged and evaluated roll of your back instead of block your path (through acceptance and commitment therapy).

So my question for you is... is this you? Do you procrastinate because of your social anxiety?

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April 16, 2013 at 7:28 am
(1) Alex Harden says:

I’d also recommend taking small actions. If your fear of how people will react to your work is causing you to avoid starting on a project, then refocus your attention on the first bit of work. Try to do the smallest amount possible to just get some momentum building.

Also try to get comfortable with asking your colleagues small questions if you get stuck. I’ve dealt with anxiety in the past and what I can tell you from experience is that people will be far more likely to want to assist you rather than criticize you.

April 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(2) Candace says:

Oh my, this is me. It’s me so much that I had almost diagnosed myself with ADD. I can do the strangest things….like not ask my boss for legitimate time off (like I need to go in an hour late) just because something seems to be holding me back from asking. I’ve actually gone in late, sent the time slip later, and acted as if I’d forgotten to call…potentially putting myself in jeapordy of being reprimanded. (I realize how insane this is.) Then I’ll do things like take time off from work in order to do extra preparation for a public presentation and in order to spend an inordinate amount of time on my clothing and makeup. All these silly things just take MORE time out of my schedule. I’m so afraid of doing things wrong that everything takes far too much time. And yes, I have a terrible time ever committing to any one decision for fear of the decision being wrong.

May 6, 2013 at 8:47 am
(3) Erin says:

Yes, indeed many of these things sound like me – especially in dealing with phone calls. I also don’t like asking my boss for time off or really any other questions – I have a tough time asking people questions in general, mostly in the workplace, for fear of asking the wrong person or being viewed in a certain way depending on the question.

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