I woke up this morning with a massive to-do list. Within the first 30 minutes of getting out of bed, I was already obsessing over one task that seemed especially daunting. I thought about it over and over in my head for the good part of an hour.
I kept thinking:
-I don’t like doing this sort of task
-It requires me to be very detail-oriented, which I, admittedly, am not sometimes
-I have gotten in trouble for not being detail-oriented in the past, so I am paranoid about messing up again
-I don’t want to G-d forbid lose this job
-I have to wait for another person to answer me before I can complete this task, so what if they don’t answer in time?
-What if it takes many hours and I won’t have time for my other work?
As you can tell, I was f-r-e-a-k freaking out. And then I caught myself. Why did I have to worry about this task so much? Why did I have to be anxious about my to-do list at all? I am an adult, and I am in control of my thoughts. I don’t have to let these worries get to me. Plus, everything has worked out in the past, so why would it not work out now?
And with those simple declarations, all those anxious thoughts vanished. I put together a to-do list and started checking it off, feeling more and more accomplished with each task I did. I focused on doing a great job on every task instead of rushing through to get to the next one. I did the tasks that needed to be completed today first, and then worked my way through everything else.
Knowing how to cope with anxiety is very important for workers, especially entrepreneurs and freelancers, since we are more in control of our financial fates and career development. I used to get so anxious over every task that came in that I eventually started working at all hours of the day and to the point of utter exhaustion. That’s not healthy. Work should be important, but it shouldn’t take over your mind and your life.
Now I know when I’m feeling anxious to step back and look at what’s really happening. I can analyze why I feel this way and what I can do to calm myself down. I can take real action, like making a to-do list, instead of letting my negative thoughts get in the way of my productivity. It’s taken me years to learn all this, but it’s finally paying off.
How do you combat work anxiety? Let me know in the comments below.