Science explains why you can’t do certain things even if you devote time to them

Do you think you've ever experienced it: having an appointment or task scheduled for a certain time of day, and yet, despite the time remaining before that event, we fail to use that precious time for anything else.

We find ourselves trapped in a distraction, thinking about what we have planned to do later, rather than making progress on other tasks. In , this is known as the “waiting mode”.

The “waiting mode”: an obstacle to making the most of our time

In the “waiting mode”, the mere idea of having a future commitment, whether social or professional, can create a certain anxiety or pressure. This anticipation paralyzes us, preventing us from starting or continuing other tasks. So we end up spending those hours simply letting time pass, or even taking a nap.

It's worth noting that this phenomenon can occur in anyone from time to time, especially when the planned scheme is important to the person concerned. Nevertheless, it more frequently affects people with disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Waiting mode goes viral

Recently, this psychological concept went viral on , thanks to user @Anezka_Astora, who shared her personal experience with this phenomenon. Her tweet garnered thousands of retweets and “likes”, a sign that many people felt identified.

The user confided that the “waiting mode” is due to his “anxiety disorder”. He describes how he felt “extremely frustrated” and unable to concentrate on anything in the morning or get on with simple tasks until he returned from class in the afternoon. This led to a proposal to call this phenomenon in French “mode d'attente”. The tweeter adds that “it's nice to be able to put a name to something you thought only happened to you”.

Solutions to combat “waiting mode

To combat “waiting mode”, psychologists recommend a number of techniques. These include brain dumping, which involves writing down ideas to organize the mind and reduce anxiety. They also recommend meditation techniques such as mindfulness. Finally, they recommend starting with simple activities requiring little effort, then gradually progressing to more complex, active tasks.

Ultimately, understanding and knowing how to manage the “waiting mode” can help us use our time more efficiently and avoid the paralysis of action caused by anticipation of a future commitment.

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