Maybe you haven’t been avoiding anxiety

You’ve been using it, making it worse on purpose.

Here’s how…

You’d been thinking about it, you’d been pouring over it. You’ve got to turn it in or make that call, but not yet. Something else might come to you in the meantime.

And then, you miss the deadline.

I’m guessing somewhere after this you beat the heck out of yourself for once again failing something important. Angry, sad, worried about how this just reinforces a sense of awfulness and shame, you fall into a familiar exhausted slump, unclear as to any path forward.

Somehow, you come to the solution that next time, you’ll just have to worry more.

What happened?

I’m betting you’ve been using your anxiety.

Maybe you worried that if you turn it in, made that call, or hit send before the deadline something might have come up that would have altered it. If you turned it in too early, you know you’d likely beat yourself up there, too.

So, you waited. But for what?

You waited until that last moment, trying to give yourself space to think, maybe leaving time for new information to arrive, but all the while hoping that the anxiety would tell you when to turn it in.

You might argue, How could it not? It is so important that there is no way you’d forget.

But you do. The mind has a hard time thinking in such high states of stress, particularly chronic stress. It is a fight or flight response stuck in the on position. After some point, your reserves are depleted and some defense, unconscious more often than not, kicks in.

Relying on anxiety can create an ever-worsening cycle.

If, instead, you actively consider what is the Last Responsible Moment, you’ll be in a better space to both make a decision in time and give yourself time to consider the options.

I forget where I first heard the term, but it is roughly defined as the point at which the cost of not making the decision is greater than the cost of making it.

With this, you can create a reasonable marker, a reminder, a task, some mark on the calendar, or whatever works to alert you when needed.

Whenever you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you:

  • Find calm focus one step at a time here  (2,200+ students)
  • Master OmniFocus, the power tool for task management here  (15,000+ copies sold)
  • Organize your digital life and have your ideas and files at your fingertips here (2,400+ copies sold)
  • Go beyond productivity to find mastery and meaningful work here  (2,500+ copies sold)
  • Guide the power of a wandering mind here  (50+ live students)
  • Kourosh

PS If you want more, I’ve been experimenting with writing bite-sized posts on LinkedIn every weekday at 3pm. [Follow me there]!