Project Avoidance Creep – The Lie of Anxiety

It is common for ADHD & Dyslexic brains.

“This project is going to take FOREVER, I don’t have enough time to even start it now, I will just wait until later.”

This is the great project anxiety lie that we tell ourselves. Most of the time you don’t even realize that you are saying this to yourself, but I bet you are.


I have a great story about my dad and this. My whole life, from January 1st through April 15th, my father could not be bothered because he was “doing the taxes.”

No visiting him, short calls, if at all. Once I had my own business or two and I was doing all of those taxes, which was more than he was dealing with, I didn’t understand why he needed almost four months to do his taxes.

Turns out there were multiple factors.

One, He didn’t do any bookkeeping throughout the year, so he was working to bring it all together at once. I made sure to do it monthly and use software to assist.

Two, He had this lie going on in his head and he never brought truth to it.

Three, he had major anxiety and this was a tool to keep us away and that reduced his anxiety.


Because it is tax time, I am hearing a lot about this lie right now and I thought it was about time we addressed it.


When I was running my website business there was a common term in the industry. Scope Creep. It is when you create a scope of project, start on it and it expands past the original project scope.

When it comes to projects, I have noticed that some neurodiverse individuals have Project Avoidance Creep.

Their fear of how to do the project and not knowing where to start is so great that their avoidance of it grows and grows.


Project Avoidance Creep TM – is the anxiety around a task or project created by not knowing where to start or how to break the project down. The outcome is large amounts of avoidance of the project and possibly the project never getting done.


I catch myself telling this lie at times. Right now, I have this lie going on about an update to my website and the many pages of content I need to write. I know it’s all just a lie.

The truth for me is that I am a little scared to put myself out there at a bigger level. I also want it to be well done and I am learning that when it comes to my marketing, I do best in collaboration with others and I have not added in a collaboration partner.

The truth is, I just need to ask for a little help, and it will be done in two hours.

There, you just watched me walk myself through to a solution. Notice, that process happened outside my head. It was on a piece of paper.



You see what can happen to a neurodivergent person is that at the very start of learning about this task, they immediately say to themselves, “O’ my gosh, I don’t know how I am ever going to get this done in time.” Or something like that.

That triggers all sorts of chemicals in the brain and that project doesn’t go out to the parts of the brain that work on puzzles and break down problems to help get the solution. The project stays kidnapped by anxiety. Doctors like to use the term “problems with executive function.”

It takes a whole lot of adrenaline to rescue the project from anxiety and that is often why something gets done, five minutes before it is due.


Now that you understand this a little more, you can start to see it and from time to time shift how you deal with it.


If one of your non-strengths (weaknesses) is breaking down a project, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is figuring out how to shift this.

Your goal isn’t to become a paid project manager. Your goal is to improve your process a little at a time.

Highly successful dyslexic and ADHD people have figured this process out. They have systems, tools, and people. They don’t allow project avoidance creep to happen.


5 Steps to Rescue a Project from an Anxiety Kidnapping

Step one is to identify that your anxiety is lying to you and has kidnapped a task.

Step two is to ask for help. ASAP. Who do you know that is good at breaking down a project? What tools can you use (maybe – AI software written by a different thinker)

Step three create a project outline or scope with all of the action steps you need to take.

Step four is to take action. As soon as possible start on the first step of your project and keep working on it a little at a time each day. Or schedule out blocks of time to get it done.

Step five is to keep up the momentum to complete the project ahead of schedule or on time and even better than you could have anticipated.



Just know that every step of the way that little anxiety lie is going to pop back up into your head and you just need to mow over it or go back to step one. Don’t slow down and don’t believe it.

All it is really saying is, “I don’t know what to do next.” So, go back to your project outline and do the next thing, then the next thing, and so on.


Project Avoidance Creep TM isn’t fun to have to fight with and it takes up a lot of time and energy.

One of the big bonuses of learning to shift this is the amount of time and energy you regain in your day.

It is also a really amazing feeling when you are able to turn things in early or get things done better than if you would have done them in the last five minutes before they were due, or late.


We are all on this journey of self-exploration and improvement together. I want you to be successful daily and to celebrate those wins. You can do this, give it a try.


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