Reply To: Any Tips for Overcoming "Anticipatory" Task Avoidance?

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Oh my gosh. Thank you! I totally feel this way too! If I have one “planned” event happening in a day I can hardly do anything else until that thing is over. It doesn’t even have to be an event I am dreading. It is like my brain devotes all its attention to that planned task. For instance, say I had a doctor’s appointment at 3 p.m. My brain would “handle” that appointment by focusing all its energy on it. Then, when I get home I either feel like you said, “finally that is over and I can get something else done” or wiped out from anticipating that small task all day long.

Similar to you I have known this about myself but hadn’t really thought through it until I read this, so thank you for sharing. Here is what I am thinking:

1. My brain goes into overdrive trying to not forget the one thing actually externally scheduled in my day.

2. I may feel that “external” plans involving other people are more concrete or important than my personal plans for the day because I can’t take myself seriously as a task manager.

3. Maybe it is a simple case of hyper focus that is agitating because you can’t take any action on it when it is time bound. If I were in your situation with the couch, I would spend all morning doing worthless things to get the couch ready to go. I just did this with a bed set I sold. Instead of leaving it in the garage where it was already very accessible, I pulled it to the driveway. I could not stop thinking about that dang bed set until it was picked up and the object of my hyper focus was “completed”.

4. Being time blind makes every task omnipresent. While I ‘know’ that thing won’t be happening for several hours and won’t take long, my brain cannot disengage because a day is not exactly morning, afternoon, night, but, rather ‘today’.

5. I also get completely overwhelmed if I have more than 1 of those little plans in my day. If have an appointment on the same day as a game night with friends, my brain gets stuck. Like, oh Thursday I can’t play games because I have an appointment that morning. It is totally illogical.

6. It’s not even just with appointments, it’s with mindsets too. For instance, when I was pregnant, my brain was constantly telling me that “being pregnant” was all it could handle so the rest of your life had better just freeze until these 9 months are over.

7. I guess my conclusion is that my brain is constantly overrun with input in cannot filter out. When you tell it to hold on to information, it cannot file the information away for use later, so it keeps it right in the forefront for you until it is over. Also, hyper focus feels good, so my brain is looking for any target to avoid the nebulous uncertainty of confronting anything else that isn’t already structured out for me.

Wish I could offer advice. Just know I am right there with you. Thank you for talking about it because you really helped me come to some personal realizations.