How do I stop my mind from withdrawing into itself?

Postby S1374 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:06 pm

I want to have a productive life, wake up early, follow timetables etc. Everyone tells me I have a lot of potential and I know that to be true as well. I solve problems and finish assignments in a day or two (I only start a day or two before the deadline anyway), that my classmates labour an entire semester over.

But not letting my mind wander by itself, is like stretching a rubber-band. Eventually I have to give up straining against it and just let it go slack. I feel intensely restless and exhausted until I do, and it doesn’t take long for me to do so.
I might start working on a project, that I really enjoy. Then I have to take a break, which I am afraid to do because I tend to ‘lose’ my mind while I am on it.

It’s so difficult to be in the present. I forget all about my goals and the urgency of tasks and even having them written and posted on my noticeboard doesn’t help. It simply has no effect on me. I simply sit and think about why I don’t feel like doing anything or robotically listen to songs in a loop or watch random youtube videos I don’t even find very interesting. Eventually I end the day disgusted with myself.

One time I thought this was escapism because I find everythig unnecessarily complicated and have to remind myself regularly that things aren’t as bad as I think. But it happened again and I thought it was because I got overwhelmed thinking that time moved too quickly. Then I tried to remind myself to be aware of time so I don't feel like that. But along the way I forget to remind myself everything isn't too complicated. This goes on and on with several potential reasons I identified (fear of failure/success/change, lack of self-trust, perfectionism and so on). There are too many things to be aware of. Even writing them all down and putting it somewhere I can see doesn't help, because once my mind withdraws into itself, I am too caught up in my thoughts or being mentally and physically exhausted to notice anything. I feel like such a waste.

Is this anxiety, depression, stress?? I have been to doctors and counsellors, but apparently it's just procrastination?. I am dyspraxic, but this can't all be because of that.

Can anyone lend me a helping hand please so I don't ruin my life?
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:38 pm

Yes, it is procrastination. I know it doesn't sound as cool as having some different reason, but the bottom line is that you are afflicted with the same problem as everyone else in the world.

Why do we procrastinate? You listed a ton of reasons, all possibly valid. Fear in one form or another is a good one.

Probably the most telling is this idea you will "ruin" your life if you do what every person does and procrastinate. Stop believing that junk. You don't need to be the next Elon Musk to have a good life. You can procrastinate, just like every other person on the planet, and still have a great life.

To lessen your procrastination, develop a routine and get rid of things that create the opportunity to become distracted. In other words, get rid of YouTube. Use apps that block or restrict certain sites. Break down goals into smaller chunks.

Ultimately, like every other person, you will battle with procrastination your entire life. The reason is that there is always something else or something more we could be doing. Procrastination never goes away, it is never cured, we simply move the goal posts and manage it.

For instance, even responding to you is a form of procrastination for me. Participating in this forum is procrastination as would be any response you were to write. Like either of us has nothing better to do with our respective time?

I'm not saying don't work on improving, but don't make out procrastination to be some huge life ruining disadvantage. We all do it.
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Postby S1374 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:58 pm

Thank you for replying and also for bringing a more positive outlook. It is true I often forget procrastination isn't simply deciding to put things off and one can also come up with all sorts of excuses and symptoms to shift the blame on to. This could also be because procrastination takes work to manage, while if the reason were a disease, I could just take some pills to magically solve it for me.

I'll work on managing this better, because a lot of usual tips don't quite work for me. I tried getting a friend to study with for some accountability, but eventually resented myself for making myself do things when I didn't want to. Same happened to the friend and eventually we agreed to stop. As for splitting tasks into little chunks, I am hopeless at it. But I'll go try anyway.

Thank you again.
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