How Procrastination Affects Us in Life

Throughout my life I’ve procrastinated a lot. Most of the time things usually worked out. Still, the pressure probably did add unnecessary stress.

I’ve wondered a lot of times why I tend to wait until the last minute to get something done. My recent rationalization has been the confidence I feel in myself to get the work done.

If I feel really confident that it won’t take long to get done, I don’t rush to do it. But I looked up how procrastination affects us, and it was a bit of an eye-opener.

It turns out there are some real negative consequences to our physical and mental well-being. It’s fascinated me because we usually imagine the effects to be short-term.

That once you’ve finally gotten that work you were rushing to do out of the way, you just relax. But there’s more to it, and more that I thought would be worth diving into.

You can not only be motivated to stop procrastinating to be more productive, but also to have a better well-being too.

Man lying down how procrastination affects us

Procrastination may make us ill

In an article by the Association For Psychological Science, it found that people who were procrastinators were more likely to not only be stressed, but also get illnesses.

Unfortunately, it appears to be much worse than just an extra cold or two. In another article written by APS, they noted how the stress can also lead to digestive issues, insomnia, and even affect our heart.

I never thought about procrastination before in this context. It makes me wonder how much of any current or past issues I’ve had were actually caused by that.

Perhaps one can never be too sure, but it’s something to think about. Is putting things off worth risking the long-term damage that we may do?

It steals our time

Going beyond the affects on our well-being, I think to myself sometimes, there’s so much time I’ve probably wasted in life.

If I’d been more diligent in this task or another task, I probably could have gotten more done in my days.

We’re always complaining about there’s not enough time in the day to get things done. But we all get the same 24 hours.

And somehow, other people get more done and are more financially and physically well-off.

The secret to that would seem to be being more diligent with our time. As Benjamin Franklin is believed to have once said, “Don’t put off til tomorrow, what you can get done now.”

Of course, everyone has to prioritize what it and isn’t important to do in the near term. But the point is to be as diligent as possible in tackling your most important tasks of the day.

It diminishes our performance

I can’t recall specific moments, but I’m pretty sure many times I procrastinated, I usually didn’t do as well on my assignments.

According to Oxford Learning, students who procrastinated were more likely to have poorer grades, and as a result, lower confidence.

It may not be hard to imagine this probably translates to any form of work we’re doing beyond school.

I’ve found when I’ve started a task I want to complete early, I usually do it really well. The same might be the case for you.

Perhaps it’s a good philosophy to follow for us to always try to put forward our best performance. We never know if that might open the door to new opportunities.

An interesting thought on putting things off

As I was looking through a variety of different articles, one of them noted a very unique possible reason why we put stuff off.

It suggested we do it because we’d rather be looked at as lacking effort than lacking ability. That to me was striking to read.

It sounds as if our tendency to hold off on tasks is a result of an existing self-esteem issue. An insecurity that we are not good enough to do things well in our lives.

Maybe it’s the case that if we just believe in ourselves we’ll be more likely to tackle our tasks early.

Is putting stuff off a form of mental clutter?

As minimalists, we look for the clutter in our lives that gets in the way of what we want in life.

Could it be that when we put stuff off, we clutter our minds in a way that distracts from what we value?

Even when we choose to relax or watch TV instead of doing an important task, it’s still in the back of our minds.

That stress is still lingering and becoming stronger as our deadlines get closer. And our sense of peace and happiness is being disrupted.

I don’t think any of us can ever completely declutter ourselves of the urge to delay tasks every now and then.

But I think we can recognize when it’s becoming too much. When it’s hindering our progress towards the life that we ultimately want to have.

The answer certainly isn’t to turn into a workaholic or a perfectionist. But perhaps there’s a balance we can achieve, where we get most of our major tasks done, and feel productive for the day.

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  1. Maria Pinto says:

    You are speaking my language here Eric. I’ve been a procrastinator all my life, & it has had some dire outcomes. Luckily I am on top of financial matters but there have been times were I have literally waited until the last minute to get my act together. I need a “filing genie” as my system for keeping the paper monster has always been a challenge. It has caused extreme anxiety at times. Recently I just moved & had misplaced some very important papers & was to the point of heart palpitations. I told myself to just calm down & then found them. It was a reason to celebrate.

    My paper shredder has become a great friend over the years. It is almost exhilarating when you are able to clean out a bunch of stuff & shred it all. LOL

    1. Ha, yeah. It can be quite a relief to have financial matters all taken care of, Maria. Even more reason for all of us to do our best to take care of things in life early. Getting to enjoy those moments of relaxation more.