Pushing Through Procrastination in Recovery

Even the most efficient and successful people on the planet have at one point struggled with putting off responsibilities at one point in their lives. Procrastination is part of human nature, acting as a coping mechanism to avoid something they’ve been dreading or that makes them anxious. Whether it’s a simple set of chores, or something more serious and daunting, it’s perfectly normal unless it becomes a habit that leads to more stress and trouble. If procrastination gets to the point of causing consistently adverse outcomes and consequences, it needs to be remedied, especially for those in recovery who feel their progress has to come to a standstill or become progressively more challenging.

What Does Problematic Procrastination Look Like?

Consistently seeking out distractions or excuses to avoid completing a task is the very basis of procrastination. It comes in different forms, but some people chronically default to this method of coping with things they might feel unsure about, sometimes setting themselves up for failure and disappointment. Still, despite reaping negative consequences or having to deal with unfavorable outcomes, some get into the habit of putting things off until they’re past due, causing a cyclical negative chain of events that ultimately disparage their progress and goals.

Practical Ways to Stop Procrastination

In recovery, procrastination can quickly become a source of unneeded stress and anxiety, which can quickly spiral into relapse. There isn’t a quick method to resolve this undesirable habit, but there are a handful of easy actions one can take to avoid falling into the procrastination black hole. Identifying and avoiding the chronic stalling of tasks and responsibilities should be seen as work toward relapse prevention and steps towards self-preservation.

  1. Create actionable lists: To-do lists are a wonderful way to stay organized, but what happens once those lists compile and begin to overwhelm? Breaking down existing to-do lists into smaller, more actionable stages in order of importance is a good start, but it’s also smart to delete needlessly complicated steps to help get the wheels in motion toward productivity. 
  2. Break things down into steps: What happens when smaller tasks feel impossible? Each responsibility can be further broken down into simple steps that can help get the mind and body into action. Sometimes the first step is as easy as making a phone call or inquiry, but once completed, many are relieved at how easy the process was and wished they had done it sooner.
  3. Make use of mornings: Starting the process of crossing things off a to-do list at 3 p.m. gives leeway for time management. Tackling a daunting task first thing in the morning provides plenty of time for trouble-shooting and energy is much higher than later in the day. It’s too easy to give up once the clock strikes 5 p.m. and the workday ends.
  4. Ask for help: Sometimes, a task is simply too much for one person to take on by themselves. Asking for help from a mentor or loved one can help ease into something that’s been avoided for so long that it now feels impossible. Asking for assistance isn’t a weakness; it can help build strong bonds and relationships between people with a common goal.
  5. Outsource as needed: A can-do attitude is always admirable, but everyone has once bit off more than they could chew. Hiring help or a service to help things along at the beginning of a task can lessen the entire burden or sometimes eliminate hours of DIY or trial and error when leaving things to the professionals.

Middlesex Recovery has helped thousands of people who struggle with substance misuse address their addiction and achieve long-lasting recovery. With the help of specialized medical providers, nursing staff, and substance use counselors, patients receive professional and confidential care for substance use disorders using FDA-approved medications and therapies that will give them the greatest chances of success. Call or message the closest Middlesex Recovery office today to learn more.