We are all guilty of procrastinating at some point or other; no one is a stranger to it, right? Some of us might be lucky enough to identify it in time and still do something about it.
Unfortunately for others, it steals dreams and can even destroy 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, be careful: it has far more damaging effects than you may realize.
Here are the eight most common effects of procrastination that can destroy not only your productivity, but your life:
1. You will lose precious time
How much time have you wasted procrastinating? It isn’t easy to tell, but I am sure you can imagine.
The worst thing about procrastinating is the moment you realize that you are two, five or ten years older and nothing has changed. Where did all the time go?
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!
Don’t do that to yourself, you deserve what you desire.
2. You will blow opportunities
How many opportunities have you wasted because you didn’t take advantage of them when they were there? This is when 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, do yourself a favor and grab them with both hands!
3. You won’t be able to meet 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 really 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 destroy the possibility to better your life.
Uncover the root cause behind your procrastination if it’s preventing you from achieving your goals, otherwise you will never attain them.
4. You could ruin your career
The way you work directly affects your results, how much you achieve and how well you perform.
Perhaps procrastination prevents 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 worse; you might 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.
Don’t undermine your own performance unnecessarily.
5. You will lower your self-esteem
This is one of the vicious circles you might find yourself in. We tend to procrastinate sometimes because of a low self-esteem, but procrastinating doesn’t only reinforce this, it makes it even lower.
You start to doubt and question what is wrong with you. You might desperately ask yourself, “Why can’t I just do it?”
Having low self-esteem destroys lives in many ways. When we have low self-esteem, we hold ourselves back, we feel less than we should and it leads to self-sabotaging acts.
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 when you are not ready.
6. You will make poor decisions
When you procrastinate and make decisions from this standpoint, they are almost always going to be poor decisions because of the place you are coming from.
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 affects how we feel to a large degree.
Poor decision making has huge negative effects on our happiness, results and life.
7. You will damage your reputation
When you keep saying you will do something and you don’t, your reputation inevitably gets tarnished. 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 and they will be left to clean up the mess.
A bad reputation has multiple underlying negative effects.
8. You will risk your health
Procrastination is linked to mental health problems like stress and anxiety, and these in turn are linked to health issues. If your procrastination leads to feelings of depression, over time this depression 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. Studies show us more and more how damaging stress and anxiety are for us, with stress being the silent killer.
Another way that procrastination can affect your health 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.
Remember that procrastination is like a habit, it is really hard to kick, but it can make or break you!
If you want to stop procrastination, take a look at this guide written by Lifehack’s CEO, Leon:
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com