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The Impact of Procrastination on Productivity

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
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Procrastination is a common problem that has a negative impact on productivity. It is the act of deferring or postponing tasks until the very last minute.

Though it may appear harmless, procrastination can have a number of detrimental effects that can prevent productivity and success in both personal and professional contexts.

So, how does procrastination affect productivity?

The Effects of Procrastination on Your Productivity

Here’re 4 ways procrastination prevents you from being productive:

1. Increased Stress

Increased stress is one of the most significant consequences of procrastination. When tasks are postponed until the last minute, people are often rushed to complete them. They may feel overwhelmed and unable to focus, resulting in poor quality work and inability to meet deadlines. This can result in feelings of frustration and inadequacy.[1]

People who are under time constraints and a rush to finish tasks may experience sleep loss,[2] which can have a negative effect on their general health and wellbeing. The emotional cost of procrastination can also make people feel anxious and overwhelmed, which can also result in physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches.

Poor physical and mental energy is a major drain on productivity.

2. Missing Opportunities That Can Leverage Your Time

When a person procrastinates on a task or decision, they are choosing to do something else instead. This also implies that they have chosen not to take advantage of the potential benefits or opportunities that come with completing that task or making that decision. That is referred to as an opportunity cost.

For example, if you procrastinate and don’t give yourself enough time to complete an important project, you may miss out on a promotion that would have given you a significant boost in your career.


Another example is that if you put off hiring someone for a job, you may miss out on having your work delegated to someone more experienced or suitable who can do the work more efficiently, giving you more time to focus on the most important tasks.

3. Loss of Self-Discipline

It’s challenging for someone who has a habit of putting off tasks until the last minute to stay on track and meet deadlines. This can lead to a lack of discipline in time management and task completion in general.

As procrastinators begin to see themselves as incapable of meeting their responsibilities and commitments, they lose motivation and don’t see the need for self-control to get things done. It becomes even harder for them to resist temptations and distractions that could undermine their productivity.[3]

Procrastination can also make it more difficult to maintain routines and habits that are crucial for productivity. Procrastinators may neglect daily routines such as exercise, healthy eating, and regular sleep patterns, which can result in a lack of energy and focus.

4. Decrease in Self-Esteem and Confidence

As people continue to procrastinate, they may feel guilty for not completing tasks on time and believe they will never achieve their goals. This can lead to a lack of confidence in their ability to handle responsibilities and meet expectations, both at work and in personal life.[4]

With low self-esteem and confidence, procrastinators find it hard to take constructive criticism and be open to learning and self-improvement.


5. Ineffective Collaboration

As previously mentioned, procrastination can result in missed deadlines, which can delay projects and have a negative effect on the entire team. This can cause frustration and resentment among team members and supervisors, which makes it challenging to effectively collaborate.

Because procrastinators may disregard their responsibilities and commitments to others, they may be perceived as untrustworthy or lacking in commitment. As a result, they are less likely to receive support and guidance from colleagues and supervisors, and they may miss out on collaborative and learning opportunities.


Procrastination can hold anyone back from staying productive. It may result in more stress and pressure, guilt and low self-esteem, missed opportunities, tense relationships, and a lack of discipline. It may also cause issues with physical and mental health and make it difficult to maintain productivity-enhancing routines and habits.

The only way to avoid all of these negative consequences is to overcome procrastination. Find out the root cause of your procrastination and what you can do to stop procrastinating in What Is Procrastination And How To Stop It (Complete Guide) or simply move on to the next chapter of the Productivity Series.

Featured photo credit: Muhammad Raufan Yusup via unsplash.com


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