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10 Ordinary Things That Make Nervous People More Nervous

10 Ordinary Things That Make Nervous People More Nervous

Having a vivid imagination is both a blessing and a curse. If you are in a creative business, it will work to your advantage and people will think your ability to come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas is pure genius!  But when that same imagination takes hold during everyday life, you may be judged differently. Being a creative person who has had my share of unfounded nerves and the occasional panic attack, I know how bad it feels to have others say things like, “You worry too much!” or “It’s nothing! What’s your problem?”  What’s my problem? My problem is that I see impending doom more vividly than you do friend!

Here are ten ordinary things that make nervous people more nervous – see if you can relate to any! (For the record, they will also make the same nervous people laugh, when their nerves aren’t running the show.)

1. Threat of Snow

Meteorologists must love the control they have over nervous people, knowing that the second they stand in front of that map and say, “We may have snow…” hundreds of people panic and head to the nearest store for milk, toilet paper and comfort food. While they are often wrong, a nervous person knows, “They might be right!”

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2. Traffic Jams

Some people can sit in traffic every day with no problem, they know it’s a fact of life. Traffic jams instantly make me hungry, thirsty, worry that I will be late and need to pee. If I’m in a traffic jam in hot weather, I also worry that my car will overheat and I’ll die of exposure.

3. Public Speaking

While many people get antsy at the thought of speaking to a large group, nervous people can break out into a sweat talking to their book club. Will every intelligent thought escape their brain the second they open their mouth or will what comes out make sense? My palms are sweating just thinking about it.

4. What to Wear to a Party

Parties are supposed to be fun. But the second a nervous person is invited to something she or he hasn’t been to before, the stress begins. “What should I wear? What will others wear? What if I’m too dressed up or too casual? Do I bring a hostess gift? If so, what?” The fear of standing out for doing the wrong thing takes hold like a death grip, often until the event is over.

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5. An Unexplained Rash

Rashes happen. But when a rash appears on a nervous person or their child, their mind jumps to the worst case scenario. They add to the panic but doing research on the internet and proceed to diagnose a rare and often fatal disease. Does some anti-itch cream usually clear it up? Yes. But that doesn’t stop their wild imagination from wreaking havoc before the cream takes effect!

6. Entertaining

Like parties, having people over for dinner is supposed to be fun. But I can tell you from experience there can be a lot of pre-party panic. What should I cook and if I try something new, will it be good? How much food do I need? What kind of drinks? And the most stressful of all, for me at least, is trying to time everything to be done at the same time so everything can be hot and ready together. Let’s just say that Martha Stewart, I am not!

7. Noises on an Airplane

Airplanes are mechanical things. There are flaps, and gears and doors and wheels – things will make noise. But on most flights I take I end up telling someone with white-knuckles that the noises are not the plane about to break apart, it’s just the landing gear door opening and the wheels coming out so we can land safely.

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8. Sirens

When I hear a siren, I get an immediate adrenaline rush and check to make sure I’m not speeding. My gut reaction, and that of many other nervous people, is to think the siren is about THEM. The average person calmly pulls to the side of the road and let’s whatever emergency vehicle is in a hurry pass. No paranoia, adrenaline rush or unfounded guilt – lucky them!

9. A Gas Tank Below Half-Full

I have friends who drive until the gas light comes on and they still don’t worry. They just remark that, “Oh, I need gas soon…”  SOON? You needed it about 100 miles ago! I was brought up to hit the panic button if the gas went below a half a tank. I guess my parents thought we might take a wrong turn and end up in the middle of nowhere without a gas station within 100 miles, so better safe than sorry.

10. Bees

People seem to be deathly afraid of bees or not at all – there is very little in between. Even most intellectually know that a bee will die if they sting you – so they aren’t flying around looking for people to sting – they still run, scream and flail at the sight or sound of a bee. That makes the bee panic and see them as a threat and the thing they dread most happens; they get stung.

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Featured photo credit: Maxwell GS via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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