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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

The negative effects of procrastination can range from simply missing a deadline on an important task to something more long-term, such as a missed opportunity that kills a dream. Some of us might be lucky enough to identify our tendency to procrastinate in time and still do something about it.

For others, it can have long-lasting effects that resonate throughout their lives.

The reason we procrastinate varies from person to person and is not always obvious. Sometimes, it is a hidden fear that we don’t want to acknowledge, or it could even be as simple as not wanting to do something because it just doesn’t motivate us.

Whatever the reason may be, if you know you are a procrastinator, you should be careful, as it has far more damaging effects than you may realize. You can find out if you’re a chronic procrastinator with this free assessment: Are You a Chronic Procrastinator?

Here are the 8 most common effects of procrastination that can destroy not only your productivity, but your life.

1. Losing Precious Time

How much time have you wasted procrastinating?

The worst thing about procrastinating is the moment you realize that you are two, five, or ten years older and nothing has changed.

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This is a terrible feeling because you can’t turn back the hands of time; you just have to live with the helpless feeling of regret. There is nothing worse than feeling frustrated at yourself, knowing the situation could have been so different if only you had taken that first step.

2. Blowing Opportunities

How many opportunities have you wasted because you didn’t take advantage of them when they were there? This is when the effects of procrastination make you really want to kick yourself.

What you don’t realize is that the opportunity could have been life changing, but you missed out on it. Most opportunities only come around once; you are never guaranteed a second chance.

Opportunities are the world’s way of giving you more, so do yourself a favor and grab them with both hands as soon as they present themselves.

3. Not Meeting Goals

Procrastination seems to come on with full force when we entertain the thought of goals, of wanting to achieve or change something. You might have a strong desire to change, but you just can’t seem to take the first step forward.

This is normally confusing and perplexing; you might find yourself thinking, “Why is it so hard to go for something that I want so badly?” Only you can answer that; you’ll have to explore a little deeper into the resistance.

We set goals because we have a deep desire to better our lives in some way. If you don’t do this because of procrastination, you reduce the possibility to better your life.

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Uncover the root cause behind your procrastination if it’s preventing you from achieving your goals, or you may never attain them.

And if you need a bit of help in reaching your goal, The Dreamers’ Guide To Taking Actions And Reaching Your Goals is what you need. It’s a free guide that will help you tackle your procrastination behavior and craft an actionable plan to start to reach your goal. Grab your free guide here.

4. Ruining a Career

The way you work directly affects your results, how much you achieve, and how well you perform, so the effects of procrastination can end up being detrimental to your career.

Procrastination may prevent you from meeting deadlines or achieving your monthly targets. What consequence will this eventually have on your career?

You might miss out on promotions or even be at risk of losing your job. You can try to hide it for a while, but don’t doubt that long-term procrastination at work will almost certainly ruin your career.

5. Lower Self-Esteem

This is one of the vicious circles you might find yourself in. We tend to procrastinate because low self-esteem makes us feel that we won’t be able to get a task or project done the right way. Unfortunately, procrastinating only increases feelings of low self-esteem, making us doubt ourselves even more.

One study involving 426 college students found that “academic procrastination was negatively predicted by self-esteem, and self-control”[1].

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When we have low self-esteem, we hold ourselves back, feel unworthy of success, and begin to self-sabotage. Procrastination eats away your confidence, slowly but surely.

If this resonates with you, focus on building your self-esteem instead of holding on to the illusion that you should be able to do something, as this makes you force yourself into something when you are not ready.

6. Making Poor Decisions

Poor decision making is one of the worst effects of procrastination. When you procrastinate, you make decisions based on criteria that most likely wouldn’t be there if you didn’t procrastinate, like pressure to finally make a decision because time is running out.

Emotions heavily influence the decisions we make, and procrastination increases negative emotions, which can push us into making decisions that don’t serve us in the long run.

Instead of rushing through decisions while procrastinating, write out all the possibilities and find a calm moment to analyze the pros and cons of each.

7. Damage to Your Reputation

When you keep saying you will do something and you don’t, your reputation gets tarnished, as nobody wants empty promises. Besides damaging your own reputation, you are damaging your self-esteem and self-confidence. You will find that it gets easier to procrastinate each time because you are not surprising yourself anymore.

People could stop depending on you and hold back on offering you opportunities because they could be worried that you will simply procrastinate, leaving them to clean up the mess.

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Even if you already have a reputation of being a procrastinator, you can turn it around. Next time someone asks you for something, use all of the tools at your disposal to get it done on time. Each time you fulfill a request, your reputation will begin to build back up, which will lead to more opportunities and better relationships with those around you.

8. Risking Your Health

Among the effects of procrastination are mental health problems like stress and anxiety, and these in turn are linked to health issues. If your procrastination leads to feelings of depression, this will start to affect other areas of your life.

If you procrastinate too much with something, it will most likely start to stress you out and cause anxiety, especially when other people or things are involved, and all of this can lead to poor health outcomes.

Another way that procrastination can affect your health in the short term is when you continually put off check-ups and postpone appointments or things you need to do, such as exercise. The problem only gets worse and the consequences more dire.

Final Thoughts

The effects of procrastination may not seem all that bad at first, but over time, those effects can build, leading to stress, anxiety, broken dreams, and low self-esteem. Instead of letting procrastination take hold, take the time to develop time management techniques to help you deal with it when it appears.

In a study on procrastination interventions, researchers discovered that cognitive behavioral therapy significantly reduced procrastination and, furthermore, “reduced procrastination more strongly than the other types of interventions”[2]. If you find yourself continuing to struggle with procrastination, cognitive behavioral therapy may be a great option to try.

You can also check out this video to get started on changing your mindset around procrastination:

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More on Overcoming the Effects of Procrastination

Featured photo credit: NordWood Themes via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Overcome Procrastination and Start Doing What Truly Matters

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How to Overcome Procrastination and Start Doing What Truly Matters

Before we can solve the problem of procrastination, we must understand why we do it. There are a few basic reasons:

  • Feeling overwhelmed with a situation.
  • Given up hope that a situation can be changed or affected.
  • Afraid of failing.
  • Too “busy” to get the really important things done.
  • Can’t make a decision.
  • Overworked, tired.
  • Want to avoid work you don’t like.

Each of these can be reduced down to the pleasure/pain principle which says that we do things to gain pleasure and to avoid pain.

So how to overcome procrastination? Overcoming procrastination can be less challenging if you follow the methods below. Start doing things that matter, and jettison excess baggage in your to-do list that only serves to weigh you down:

1. Get Clear About What You Want in Life

Procrastinators, you’ll love this!

Take 20-30 minutes to do this quick goal planning exercise.

Write down all your goals in some or all of these categories: career, education, relationships, financial, physical, mindset, creative, spiritual, public service, travel, leisure, and other.

Once you have your list, then whittle it down to your top 10, then down to your top 5, and then your top 3.

Do this by asking yourself, “Can I live without this?”

Let your less important goals lie dormant on a “maybe” list that you can check on again in a few months. Focus on the important tasks first.

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Here’re some questions to inspire you to think about what you want: 7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

2. Tidy up Your To-Do List

Delete or delegate from your to-do list those things that don’t relate to your top 3-5 goals.

Just say bye bye. And don’t look back!

This is important to better time management because with limited time, it’s important to do only things that matter most, but not every single task at hand.

3. Link Tasks You Don’t Like to Your Goals

It helps to mentally (and in writing) tie these tasks to one of your main goals or values. This helps you to remind yourself how each task is related to the big picture.

For example, “Keeping a tidy and clean home and desk allows me to have clarity of mind which is something I highly value. By having clarity of mind I will be better able to work on my goals and have less anxiety.”

By linking the task to the pleasure of being able to think clearly, I now have a reason that will motivate me to take action.

4. Plan Your Day Each Day

This is not a big task. It should only take about 10-15 minutes of quiet time.

Do the most difficult and most important things first and work your way down to the easier stuff in the afternoon. You’ll feel really good if you do this.

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Focus on that to motivate you to wait to check email and such until after you’ve finished your first big task.

This article about setting daily goals can help you:

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

5. Plan Your Week Just Enough

Plan your week just enough  to loosely schedule in some of the big things you know you want to get done.

Sometimes procrastination happens simply because a task is not scheduled.

Scrum could be a great method for you to try, so you can plan your week right.

6. Allow for Cheats and Get Rest

When you’re tired or have low motivation, take a break.

Don’t be so hard on yourself about the timing of a task and then you won’t try to escape through procrastination so hard in the future. Just reschedule and get back on track later or tomorrow.

Also, remember to check if the task relates to one of your goals. See #1,2, and 3 again!

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7. Just Do It, but Don’t Over Do It

We often put pressure on ourselves to do certain tasks more often than we really need to, such as cleaning, tidying and laundry etc. So give yourself a break and set a schedule for these things that is not overwhelming.

Do thing on a “need to do” basis and let go of the notion that you need to keep up with some perfect schedule. Ever heard of the business concept “just in time” inventory, well this is “just in time” task management.

8. Break Down Big Tasks Into Smaller Components

We procrastinate on tasks that are vague and nebulous because we don’t have clear instructions what to do next.

Take a few moments to think about how to break down a larger task and schedule it into your calendar in pieces. This is good for when you are feeling overwhelmed.

9. Get Help Making Decisions

Decisions are tough for me. I like to use the pro/con method and assign points.

I also recommend getting help from a friend that you know is good with making decisions.

Once you’ve made your decision, then break it down into tasks and schedule into your calendar.

10. Believe in Yourself and in Your Ability to Accomplish Anything You Want

If you’ve lost hope, know that you can turn things around.

Release the fear of failure. Failure is just a learning experience.

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Slow and steady wins the race. A little bit done every day adds up to a lot over a year.

If you have to, just fake your belief until it becomes real. Remember, you can do it!

11. Trick and Treat Yourself

Do you keep avoiding cleaning up your desk or some other big task, even though you know will make you feel good to get it done? If so, do this:

Invite a friend or family member over for a date to “tackle the dreaded task.”

All your friend has to do is sit in the room with you and make sure that you do the task.

If you want, you can let them help you, but it’s not necessary. After the task is done, you can treat you and your friend to either coffee, dessert, meal or movie, whatever!

Summing It Up

It’s useless to read through this article if you’re not taking any actions right after reading it!

So here’s a recap for you:

  • Know your most important goals and values.
  • Only do tasks that contribute to those goals and values.
  • Mentally link tasks to the pleasurable outcomes you seek.
  • Plan your day & week.
  • Do, but don’t overdo. Rest when needed.
  • Break down big tasks.
  • Get help making decisions.
  • Believe in yourself!
  • Trick  and treat!

And now, start with the first one on the list, what’s your goals and what do you value?

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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