Psychology Today: How to Recognize Anxiety-Induced Procrastination

Here are fives types of anxiety-related procrastination that are often overlooked or misunderstood. As you read each example, ask yourself if you have any tasks you’re putting off that fit that category.

1. When you’re blaming someone else for your inaction.
Anxiety can manifest in typical ways, or it can look like anger or hopelessness. If there’s something you’re putting off due to anxiety, you might find yourself blaming your partner, coworkers, or parent for your inaction instead of acknowledging your anxiety.

2. When you’re anxious about a task you have a lot of experience doing successfully.
Sometimes people get anxious about completing tasks they have a lot of experience with, particularly if some time has passed since the last time they did the task, if the stakes are higher, or the evaluation of their work will take a different form than it usually does.

3. When anxiety about a small aspect of a project is blocking your progress on the whole thing.
You might not feel nervous about all aspects of a task, but perhaps you feel nervous about just one aspect or a few aspects. For instance, you might not want to make a phone call but the rest of the task isn’t particularly nerve-wracking once you’ve gotten past that step.

4. When you feel strong resentment about having to do the task at all.
Anxiety gets camouflaged when other emotions you’re experiencing are more dominant.

5. When your anxiety is manifesting as perfectionism.
Anxious people sometimes respond to their anxiety with perfectionism. When there is something they want to get really right they might design tasks in ways that are over the top.