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8 Ways Procrastination Can Destroy Your Life

8 Ways Procrastination Can Destroy Your Life

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 ways that procrastination can destroy 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.

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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.

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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?”

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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 at 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.

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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 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!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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