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About Everything Wiki » Productivity » How to recognize a "task paralysis" and get rid of it

How to recognize a "task paralysis" and get rid of it

10 Jun 2023, 00:01, parser
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What is "task paralysis"

It is at the moment when we have the most to do, we often lose the ability to do at least something. This feeling of helplessness usually appears when there are 10 tasks on our list and they are all equally urgent and important. Or when we are dealing with a major serious project and do not understand where to start. If you are familiar with such situations, most likely, you are familiar with the "task paralysis".

In this state, instead of logically comprehending the to-do list or gradually joining the work on the project, our brain seems to freeze. This is due to the fact that he perceives tasks as a potential threat and switches to the "hit, run or freeze" mode. It can be a threat of failure because we fail, a threat to let others down, or a threat to feel stupid and incompetent because we don't know where to start and how to act.

"Task paralysis" can overtake anyone, but perfectionists are especially susceptible to it. They subconsciously identify themselves with their work, and if a person thinks that he is what he is doing, doing something becomes even scarier.

How to handle it

With "task paralysis", the administrative center of our brain loses Everyday stress can shut down the brain’s chief command center / Scientific American control over the situation. Usually, the prefrontal cortex, which gives us the opportunity to plan and make decisions, restrains sharp emotional impulses. But during stress, the amygdala, which is responsible for recognizing threats, comes to the fore. There are several ways to overcome this condition.

Break large tasks into small parts

First of all, you need to relieve stress, so first take a few deep breaths and exhalations. This will reduce the X. Ma, Z. Yue, et al. The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults / Frontiers in Psychology the level of the stress hormone cortisol.

If one complex project scares you, divide it into tiny stages. They should be so small that they do not cause you resistance. For example, you need to make a presentation. Make a list of steps with all the details: collect data, write text for slides, open a program, choose a design style, and so on. Add as much specifics as possible to each item, including the place, time and duration of each step. Imagine that you are writing instructions for a teenager who absolutely does not want to do this. The more details you take into account, the better.

Then try to relieve the tension. Tell yourself that if you do not cope with the task, it's not a big deal. You can always come back and fix it. Ask yourself how many mistakes you will allow yourself to make. The answer should not be zero.

And finally, take the first step, any first step. Sometimes the very idea of a task scares us. It seems so big that we don't know what to do. And since we don't know which side to approach the task from, we don't approach it from any side. As soon as you start working, the process will go easier and you will realize that all fears were in vain.

Stimulate yourself

If you have a long list of small things in front of you, approach the issue strategically. Of course, you can start with the most important, or you can start with the most pleasant. If you have to do everything anyway, let the task that causes the least rejection be the first one. You will feel self-confidence and gain momentum, because nothing contributes to success like success itself.

Another way to get an incentive to work is to start with something important for others. Think about what task will make life easier for other people. If you do it, will it help someone? Or, on the contrary, if you do not fulfill it, will it prevent someone from achieving their goal?

There is another way to stimulate yourself when you don't want to take up business at all. If you need to send a letter that you keep postponing and postponing, promise yourself that as soon as you do this, you will spend 10 minutes on social networks without a twinge of conscience. Or combine pleasant activities with unpleasant ones. For example, solve Sudoku while waiting for an answer on the bank's phone line. In other words, use what you love to do to reward yourself for what you don't like to do.

As a last resort, if it is simply impossible to complete all the tasks on time, delegate. Ask a colleague, relative, or friend to help with some tasks and promise to reciprocate in the future.

Stop avoiding any job

Before you start working, get rid of distractions. Put the phone away, clean the table, set the timer for the time you need. Inform everyone, including yourself, that you cannot be disturbed and you cannot be interrupted even for such a trifle as washing a cup.

It is unlikely that you want the "task paralysis" to develop into procrastination when you do something simple and pleasant in the short term, for example, checking social networks, just not to do difficult tasks. Distractions and procrastination often go hand in hand. If the "forbidden fruit" is always nearby and easily accessible, you will procrastinate more.

Avoiding tasks risks becoming a repetitive pattern. When we move away from what scares us, we trigger the mechanism of "double lies". The first lie is that the task poses a threat to us, and the second is that we cannot cope with it. Trapped in a "double lie", we lose the chance to do the job and realize that in fact everything is not as bad as we thought.

As a result, the key goal is to cope with anxiety and train the brain to function properly even under stress. This will give you self-confidence and strengthen useful habits that will come in handy the next time your to-do list makes you hang up.

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