The Negative Effects of Procrastination on Your Life
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Procrastination is a bad habit that can have many negative effects on your life. If not dealt with effectively, procrastination can damage your job, relationships and even your mental health.
Why We Procrastinate
Studies have shown that more than 20% of people can be described as "chronic procrastinators" who will always put off until tomorrow what they could or should be doing today.
There are a number of reasons why people procrastinate - from fear of failure to passive aggression that states (consciously or unconsciously) that no one is going to tell THEM what to do.
No matter what the reason, people’s expectations and needs are not met, which can often lead to the end of a job or the breaking up of a relationship.
Procrastination can make you miss out on countless opportunities. As humans we tend to avoid pain and seek pleasure. We avoid things we don’t like in the mistaken belief that the temporary enjoyment we get from procrastination is worth it. The pleasure will be short-lived, however, and only lead to a lot more pain in the long run.
The Negative Effects of Procrastination
Here are some common things people procrastinate about, with often disastrous results:
* We put off going to the doctor, then discover we have a serious illness that could have been treated more successfully if we had gone sooner.
* We wait to pay our bills even if we have money in the account, leading to late fees and other charges.
* We don’t do our taxes until the night before they are due, and then make a mess of it and miss out on our refund or get audited.
* We miss deadlines at work, which affects our annual review. This can lead to not getting a raise or promotion, or even not keeping the job.
* We miss deadlines at work in reference to our share in a larger project. We let down the whole team, and if someone has to take up the slack, this will cause resentment.
How Procrastination Can Negatively Affect All Areas of Our Lives
In addition to all of these obvious effects as a result of procrastination, there is the wider effect of negativity and stress that can only build over time. Stress can cause fatigue, a lack of sleep, a weakened immune system and stomach issues.
At work, we will be stressed because we are under constant pressure to perform. Each missed deadline only increases this pressure. This can transform even your "dream job" into a nightmare. Failure can mean a poor reference, which will make it even harder to find and keep a good job.
At home, you might procrastinate about even the simplest of tasks you have promised to do, such as mow the lawn. This leads to tension, with the person needing the work done and you procrastinating because you hate being told what to do. Their reasonable question regarding when it will be done turns into "nagging."
Eventually, after countless promises from you, they either ask someone else, hire a professional, or do it themselves. If you are unreliable with a lot of little things, they will decide you are unreliable in general and the relationship may end.
Procrastination may seem like you are winning, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. However, the consequences can be a great deal more painful if you do not take steps to nip procrastination in the bud.