How to Accomplish Difficult Tasks When You're Anxious

May 15, 2018 Martha Lueck

Difficult tasks can become impossible tasks if anxiety overtakes your ability to complete them. Learn some ways to accomplish difficult tasks when you would rather ignore them at HealthyPlace.

What was the last difficult task that you neglected to complete because it was distressing to think about? Perhaps you recently avoided studying for a test or looking at a new bill. Whatever it was, neglecting these difficult tasks can have negative consequences. For tips on how to make difficult tasks easier to accomplish, read this article.

Why Do We Avoid Difficult Tasks?

Before I talk about ways to simplify difficult tasks, it is important to address why we avoid them. Here are two reasons we do this.

The amount of time for a difficult task seems too overwhelming.

It is never easy to spend several hours doing a difficult task, especially when we do not like it. When we are overwhelmed, we easily get caught up in negative thinking. We can have thoughts like: This is going to take too long or I will never be able to complete this. So why should I bother?

We forget that the hard tasks are important.

If we do not prioritize tasks, some of them might seem less important over time. This is especially true when new tasks start to pile up. If you are trying to balance work and family life, work obligations might start to take over. If you are going to school and participating in extracurricular activities, your social life could take up more time than your studies. It is very easy to lose sight of the most important tasks (Overwhelming Depression Makes Daily Tasks Difficult).

There Are Many Repercussions of Avoiding Difficult Tasks

Avoiding difficult tasks can have serious consequences. For example, paying bills or making doctor appointments might be forgotten. Thus, you would be risking debt or health issues. You could also get into arguments that affect your relationship/marriage.

How to Make Difficult Tasks Easier to Manage

Although the repercussions for difficult task avoidance sound scary, you can avoid them by using these techniques.

Ask yourself if the task is actually difficult.

Sometimes the tasks we think are most difficult, really aren’t. Getting started could be the most difficult part (ADHD and Procrastination: How to Get Stuff Done). This is especially true if you do not like your task. So if you just find a way to get started, how difficult do you think the task might be? Answering this question could prompt you to take action.

Set aside just a little time to start a task.

As mentioned in the previous point, getting started on a task is the hardest part. A friend of mine from college suggested that I do something when I least want to do it. But that can be really hard. Usually, I am tempted to give up. But I have found that starting a task after doing something enjoyable can really help me.

Do something enjoyable while completing a difficult task.

Speaking of enjoyable activities, it can really help to listen to music or watch a funny television show while doing something such as cleaning. If you are waiting on the phone to make a doctor appointment and you start to get anxious, perhaps writing or scribbling something random can help. A lot of people enjoy using the fidget spinner.

What types of things help you complete difficult tasks? Feel free to share in the comments.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2018, May 15). How to Accomplish Difficult Tasks When You're Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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George and Tama Frazier
August, 5 2019 at 2:44 pm

Hello Nancy,
We know how it feels to be on a very tight budget, and we understand that car problems really can feel quite unmanageable all of the time. My beloved husband helps me, and I am so grateful for him. Even though life can be so difficult, and you feel like you don't matter, you always still do.

June, 3 2018 at 11:52 pm

Hi Nancy,
Thank you for taking the time to share your struggles. I am glad that you were not hurt in the accident!
I am very sorry that you feel unloved and alone. :( Loss and low self-esteem can certainly make it difficult to socialize. Have you ever thought about trying a depression support group? Perhaps there is a group near you. It might help to open up to people who share some of your feelings. I attended a group called Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (a.k.a. DBSA). It was very helpful. I felt less alone.

May, 26 2018 at 7:22 pm

Sometimes I don’t until they’re so far behind or so urgent that the anxiety has eaten me up. Like today. This whole week and prior, I had what’ could have been a very bad or fatal car accident a few weeks ago, but I’m so grateful nobody was hurt and nobody’ was hit or hit me when I lost control of my car on the interstate where someone had dumped some large rock from a truck I’m supposing. It did do damage to my car which was hard for me to take care of, pay for, and go through the motions of having to leave it somewhere two different times and get rides either to or from or both to get it picked up. I have no one but one friend who’s helped me in emergencies like this before but I’m not their responsibility and they didn’t have the time. Ever though I isolate myself at home due to major depression, anxiety and C-PTSD, I feel like I have to have my car in case I’d need it. I feel lost without knowing it’s here even though I push things off such as groceries,, too. I started to beat myself up over if I could have avoided the accident almost immediately vs just being grateful no one was hurt and my car was still drivable until I could get it where I needed to take it. The cost worried me sick becstse I’m on a fixed income of course and barely get by. I never even bothered to tell anyone else because it was too worrisome to think about. The entire time my car was gone I could not get out of bed. My fear of the unknown was too great. All I have is my dog and I thought about how awful it would have been for her to be scared when I never made it home. She’s my only concern since everyone else in my life has abandoned me, disowned me, or hates me due to my ex spouse who is a covert narcissist. I’m still suffering and trying to recover and heal from that but alone it’s so hard. I see a counselor but I don’t feel it helps becstse I can’t find a way to live alongside the pain of losing my daughter through that divorce. He was her step dad, but poisoned her against me and she never ever cane to me to ask any questions of WHY, on any of the enormous lies he told not only her but nearly everyone else I had in my life.
Right now it’s the Memoriak Day weekend in the US. Saturday. Weekends are always hard on me as people fatter with their friends and family and I have none any longer. Just doing my normal chores seem impossible most times becstse I figure “who cares”, or why should I let it bother me if nobody’s going to see it but me? I’ve had only a few visitors in the entire nearly 6 years I’ve lived here after separating and losing my home to foreclosure. I’ve let to unpack so many things in boxes and bags and just everything. It saddens me because I used to care about my home but this is only a hone becstse my dog is here. She’s my life and I’m not taking the best care of her that I should by waking her or myself enough. I find excuses to tell myself and I know those excuses are ridiculous but so often just walking outside my door and seeing others living their lives is just too much to handle for me. I’ve also put off doing my laundry so long that it’s overwhelming me at the thought of sorting and moving stuff around and organizing just that when so little else is organized here either. I hate myself for all these things. I don’t take proper care of myself either becstse it’s just too hard and I think WHY when no one else sees me? I’m one who struggles with showing and just running a comb through my hair. I used to be fairly attractive and I think I’ve given up trying to take care of me becstse I know I can’t be in a relationship either. I’ve been unloved so long now that I can’t imagine anyone ever loving me again, especially the way I am now. Who could blame anyone from running from me if they ever were to take an interest in me? I would. I’m a disaster and this weekend counting the hours of so much time alone while I know others are enjoying life and they’d famikies and friends. It makes the loneliness seem 100 times worse and I cry all the time as it already is. Eating has become a chore if there’s not something simple to make which right now there isn’t and I’d rather hide all weekend from happy people because that makes me cry too.
I’m sorry this was so off subject in many areas. I’m struggling horribly this weekend and this is the closest thing I have to speaking to someone. I don’t even have TV service or WiFi so my phone is it, and I’ve alresdy exceeded my “unlimited” data over a week ago with over another week till it resets. I’m as secluded and cut off as they come and I don’t know how much longer i can hold on, but I’m not going to do anything to hurt myself, so if anyone does happen to read this which I doubt since there are no others here, it really doesn’t matter if I say that or not.
Thank you for reading this and hearing me if anyone does.

May, 19 2023 at 2:51 am

Hi I just read your story I hope things have gotten better by now I'm sorry I came upon it so late 2018 2023 man time . Ok well anyway I have gone through the same thing all the thoughts , feelings , difficult dealing with everything. Well I hope you are in a better place take care.

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