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Last Updated on June 26, 2019

8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That 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 8 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 these guides written by Lifehack’s productivity experts:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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