There is a list in front of you, with all your tasks for the day written down on them. You try to complete any of them, at least one, but you can’t. You want to, you might even feel anxious about not completing any task at all, but for some reason, you just can’t get yourself to carry out any of the tasks at all. Does that sound familiar? Is that something that happens to you often?
If you struggle with beginning tasks, you might be dealing with task paralysis. It may sound self-explanatory, but there’s a little more to it than meets the eye. To help you understand it properly, here is a quick description of what task paralysis is.
What Is Task Paralysis?
It’s important to know exactly what it is you’re struggling with in order to know what to do about it. Simply put, task paralysis is the inability to focus on a task. Maybe you really want to get started on something, but you can’t.
You might feel too anxious to begin, almost as if the task itself had an intimidating life of its own. Or maybe you’ve managed to start the task, but you get distracted easily, so you never manage to fully carry it out. Either way, you end up procrastinating or avoiding the task altogether.
This can have a heavy impact on you: it can affect your work life, of course, but also your private life. Depending on how often you experience task paralysis, this might affect you more negatively than others. If so, you might want to know what makes you experience it in the first place.
What Causes It?
A variety of things can cause task paralysis. You might have a hard time beginning a task because you’re not sure where to start. It might be perfectionism. Perfectionism is actually one of the main reasons why some people procrastinate, and it does play a role in task paralysis. Anxiety is a natural emotion, but if it is left unchecked, it can lead to task paralysis. It is important to recognize the signs and take steps to address them. Task paralysis is a common symptom of ADHD, as it is often difficult for those with the disorder to stay on track when completing a task. Due to the nature of ADHD, it can be hard for individuals to focus on tasks or make decisions, leading to a sense of being overwhelmed and feeling like the task is too hard or too big to handle. Additionally, people with ADHD may have difficulty organizing their thoughts and activities, which can lead to confusion and frustration when trying to complete a task.
Alternatively, the problem may be the list itself. Maybe there are too many tasks on it. Or perhaps the tasks on the list take too many steps to carry out. That can be somewhat discouraging for some. Otherwise, the task on your list may be something that requires so many subtasks, it feels like you’ll never get it done. Also, task paralysis can occur if you don’t have enough knowledge to complete the task.
But knowing what task paralysis is and where it comes from doesn’t automatically make it go away. If this is something you experience, you might want to have some idea of what to do next time you struggle with beginning a task.
Dealing with Task Paralysis
Dealing with task paralysis can be a struggle. Some of us face it more often than others. For some of us, task paralysis can cause real problems in our lives and our responsibilities. That being said, there are some things that can do when we come up against this obstacle.
We can break down tasks into smaller steps and make them more manageable. If we are able to, there’s no shame in asking others to do some tasks or subtasks on our behalf. Taking breaks whenever necessary is more helpful than we would think, especially when we are trying to complete tasks. But the truth is, sometimes taking a break makes it easier for us to get back to our responsibilities.
Task paralysis is difficult to deal with, and if it’s something you experience often enough to cause you trouble in your daily life, you might want to seek professional help. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you need to. Counseling can not only be a way to deal with task paralysis but also deal with the causes behind it. So, reach out whenever you’re ready.