Procrastination is a common habit for many people all over the world. It’s easy to put off things that seem difficult or tedious, like tidying your apartment or writing your resume. But if you want to get ahead, cleaning up your act is essential.
Procrastinating behaviors can lead to severe consequences if you’re not careful. It can lead to many negative effects on your studies, career, and personal life.
How Does Procrastination Affect Your Life?
Procrastination harms your life in many ways, and understanding its adverse effects is an important step to motivate you to overcome it.
These chronic behaviors can escalate and eventually affect not just your productivity but also your:
- Physical health
- Mental well-being
- Emotional equilibrium
- Spiritual relationships
Do not take the effects of procrastination for granted. Here are some of the most serious dangers you face when you continue on this path:
You Don’t Get Things Done
When you have looming deadlines, it becomes more tempting to procrastinate. You may put off tasks you don’t want to do or avoid them altogether. Procrastination can make it difficult to finish things on time, affecting your job performance and reputation.
Time is Ticking
Procrastination leads to much wasted time, affecting your work productivity. When you put off doing things you must do, you spend too much time on unimportant or entirely unrelated tasks.
Putting off work can mean that when it comes time to finish important projects on strict deadlines, there isn’t enough time to complete them to the best of your ability.
Opportunities Pass You By
If you’re constantly putting things off, opportunities are sure to pass you by.
For example, if you procrastinate on applying for a job you really want because you can’t find the motivation to polish your resume, then someone else will get hired instead of you. Or perhaps another person will get promoted at work because they were more proactive about their application.
These missed opportunities will pile up over the years, and you may fall behind your peers and colleagues in terms of career advancement. All because you kept procrastinating tasks that you know will benefit you in the long run.
Increased Stress Levels
Procrastination compounds the stress in your life. As unfinished tasks pile up, you feel more overwhelmed until your to-do list is a mile long and entirely unmanageable.
High stress levels affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can be the root causes as well as negative consequences of chronic procrastination.
If you put things off because of a lack of motivation or anxiety about doing them well, you can become even more demotivated and anxious when you run out of time to do what you need to do.
If this is the case, it’s best to seek professional help to treat the underlying issue.
Low Self-Esteem Follows
Procrastination can come with heavy doses of guilt and low self-esteem. You may start thinking that you’re not good enough or that other people are better than you. Doubts could lead to low self-confidence and a lack of motivation, making it even more difficult for you to get things done.
Poor Time Management
If you are a chronic procrastinator, there’s no telling how many hours, days, or weeks you’ve wasted not doing what you’re supposed to. You may find yourself up at odd hours, scrambling to get something done, instead of sleeping peacefully and resting for the day ahead.
When you manage your time wisely, you will have more opportunities for hobbies, TV shows, movies, exercise, or spending time with your family, friends, and pets. Time is a precious resource, and we must make the most of it.
Lack of Motivation
Motivation is powerful. When you have it, you can do anything. And if you lack motivation, it can be extremely frustrating because it will make everything much harder to achieve than it should be.
Again, this is a slippery slope—if you procrastinate because you lack motivation, you will find it more and more difficult to be inspired to tackle the many things you’ve put off.
The consequences of procrastination are not limited to your academic or professional life. It can also damage relationships with colleagues, family, and friends.
For example, if you’re constantly late for outings or meals because of procrastination problems, people will be annoyed with you. If you apply procrastinating behaviors to your personal relationships, you may fall into communication issues, passive tendencies, and other harmful habits with your partner or close friends.
Poor Physical Health
Procrastinating behaviors can take over so much of your life that it affects your physical health.
If you regularly stay up all night finishing a task because you spent so long putting it off, you experience fatigue and chronic sleeplessness. If you can’t find the motivation to work out and spend hours scrolling on your phone instead, your body will deteriorate more quickly. If you keep putting off your medical or dental appointments, you don’t know what physical issues you may be experiencing.
Changing Life’s Course
Procrastination is a habit that is incredibly difficult to reverse. You must be proactive and mindful of these behaviors and take action now and not later.
Here are two simple things to help you overcome procrastination:
Set Specific Goals
Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) goals is a great way to break down your tasks into smaller chunks and make them easier to complete.
Be Kind to Yourself
Beating yourself up for not getting things done on time will not give you the motivation or inspiration you need to overcome procrastination.
Lean into positive reinforcement instead. Give yourself a small reward for every goal you meet or task you complete throughout the day. When you make positive associations with consistency and diligence, you will no longer fall back into harmful time-wasting habits.
Procrastination can harm your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The longer you indulge in such habits, the harder they will be to reverse and the more damage they can do to your professional and personal life.
Be proactive and create an action plan that will help you overcome procrastination. Virtue Map will help you understand why and how you procrastinate and give you all the tools you need to change how you think and act. Sign up today to get things done!