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Living With Anxiety: Procrastination

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In Tim Urban’s TED talk “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” Urban describes the work process of a chronic procrastinator as having a logical thinking side, an “instant gratification monkey” side, and a “panic monster” side (video is linked below for further explanation). Urban explains how even though the logical side of a procrastinator’s mind may know that it’s best to plan future work out, but the “instant gratification monkey” in them looks for an easier path, which means more options distracting the individual from working efficiently. Eventually the “panic monster” comes in and instills fear in the “instant gratification monkey,” forcing the logical thinker to get work done.

Now you would think someone with GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) like myself would not have this problem of waiting until the last minute. One would assume that the “panic monster” is always in the picture for us, constantly forcing us to work ahead of time. Although some people with anxiety may work like that, I do not. Whatsoever. Unlike many people with anxiety, I have a hyperactive “instant gratification monkey” along with a hyperactive “panic monster.” These two are constantly battling for attention. This means that throughout my work process my “panic monster” is putting stress on the logical thinker to get work done and in comes my “instant gratification monkey” who successfully distracts the two with some random and useless, (but fun) activity.

This exchange among the three creates quite the vicious cycle. The “panic monster” stresses out the logical thinker, so the “instant gratification monkey” jumps in to help temporarily relieve some of the logical thinker’s stress ,which leads to wasted time and no work done. Then, in comes the “panic monster” yet again and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

The cycle obviously is not the healthiest or most efficient way of getting work done, but it is my process. I’m working on controlling my “panic monster” and “instant gratification monkey” as much as I can so that my logical thinker can be in control for the most part. But this is something I am working on, and will be working on, for a long time.

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Living With Anxiety: Procrastination