Having a long list of chores can be overwhelming. During this time of year, the to-do list can be long. We’re only six days away from Christmas Day. However, you may still have gifts to buy and chores to finish.
Sometimes, when your list of chores is long, and your deadline is looming, you have difficulty getting started or completing your jobs. It can worsen your anxiety levels. The problem is pretty common and is called task paralysis — it’s when you don’t know where to start, so you simply don’t.
“Task paralysis is the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many tasks, and not knowing where to start. It can be a debilitating feeling that keeps you from getting anything done to the point where you can’t even start. Many of us have experienced the feeling of being paralyzed by an overwhelming task,” said Dr. Chandni Tugnait.
Causes for the problem include time deadlines, a lack of knowledge about accomplishing your goals, a lack of resources, fear of failure, perfectionism or procrastination. The good news is, once you recognize task paralysis, you can overcome it. Get organized, so you understand what you have to do and have all the tools and resources you need available to you. Breaking down your list and the tasks into smaller steps makes them easier to surmount. You can set deadlines for individual jobs instead of your whole list. For instance, instead of thinking that everything needs to be done by Christmas, tell yourself that, with Prime shipping, you have until the 21st to finish your shopping. Get that done, and you can move on to the next thing on your list. Ask for help and delegate some of your list to friends or even a professional. Take a short break and breathe for a few minutes to feel less overwhelmed by the enormity of the list.
Remember that beating yourself up over not completing tasks won’t help you accomplish anything. Negative self-talk is not only harmful to your mental health but also won’t help you achieve your goals. People with ADHD are especially prone to task paralysis. They struggle with becoming overwhelmed with beginning, continuing and finishing their to-do lists. If you struggle with task paralysis during calm times of the year, you should speak to your doctor about your ongoing problem about ways to manage the issue.
“Remember to seek help from a professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stay positive and remind yourself that you can accomplish your goals. With these tips in mind, you can overcome task paralysis and get back to being productive,” said Dr. Tugnait.