Why People Procrastinate & How Is it harmful for your wellbeing

If you subscribe to procrastination, you know exactly how it negatively impacts your productivity, happiness, & wellness. If you are a lifelong procrastinator, like me, it is likely that you live with high levels of stress. The mental tension caused by difficult situations increases the likelihood that you will procrastinate. When life gets interrupted, it may be challenging to meet deadlines, be productive, and thrive. Of course, everyone experiences stress at some point and to some degree. Procrastination occurs when we are negatively functioning and stress is out of balance. Unhealthy stress is the main culprit

We may procrastinate when we are unable to manage negative feelings around a task - stress, anxiety, insecurity, boredom, frustration, self-doubt, shame, resentment, or physical illness.

Identifying procrastination is fairly easy. However, it can take time to do a deeper dive to understand what triggers this behavior. Implementing a plan to differently deal with various causes of procrastination will help you minimize the harm it does to your life.

Did you know there are for main types of procrastination? I learned this one day after I dropped the ball on a time-sensitive project. In this space I was experiencing depression, anxiety, poor work habits, bad time management and overwhelming stress. I was trying to figure out why I behave this way. I wanted to understand why my choices were causing me such harm.

I needed to know what was wrong with me. Do I have adult ADD?  Do I self-sabotage because I don't feel worthy of success? Either way, no matter the cause, this habit was putting my mental and physical health at risk - and costing me money! My self-esteem was at is lowest point. I needed answers, so I did some research. The most important thing I learned it's not just me. Millions of people all over the globe suffer from procrastination.

First, let me tell you, I was once a self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination. At various points in my life, I wore the crown like a badge of honor. When I was in college, I could crank out a paper the night before it was due, and earn an A. I could prepare for a presentation an hour before I was due on stage, and knock it out of the box. I could pull together data for a report, just in time. It was only because I received positive outcomes that I found this behavior was tolerable. Of course, I had no idea the toll of long-term anxiety and stress would have on my mind, and body.

Before we go any further let's take a look at the checklists below to see if you are a habitual procrastinator:

Are you a procrastinator

Let's talk about it. Do you agree?

I am easily distracted instead of working on tasks.
I put off starting and finishing tasks.
I make excuses why I can't do or complete a task.
I wait until the last minute to finish a task.
I miss deadlines.
Fill in the blank

Why do we procrastinate

Are any of the following statements true for you?

I let emotions keep me from doing tasks.
I tend to resist committing to a task or project.
I let my surroundings dictate why or when I do a task.
I let family obligations, circumstances or situation take precedence.
I inherited procrastination that's why I always do it.
I use fear or anxiety to procrastinate.
I am feeling overwhelmed when I procrastinate.
I procrastinate when I feel overwhelmed.
I wait to do things because I want it to be perfect.
I lack motivation and accountability.
I am indecisive or have abstract goals.
I procrastinate sometimes because I don't like the task.
I believe I have ADHD.
I live with depression.
I have low energy.
Life Will Not Wait photo by Brett Johnson

Why is procrastination harmful

Is this your experience? Can you relate?

I experience stress related problems.
I feel like I am not in control of my life.
I don't have a healthy social life.
I experience lack of healthy relationships with family.
I underachieve and don't live up to my full potential.
I don't have plans or make goals, I drift through life.
I allow life to happen to me.
I lose jobs, opportunities and miss out on promotions.
I often feel unhappy.
I often feel unproductive.
I am often self-critical.
I am disappointed when I self-sabotage.
I feel shame when I fail.
I feel guilty when I procrastinate.
I am disappointed with my life.

Next Steps

If you have checked four or more boxes above, we need to talk. May I invite you to continue to read this series. It is critically important that you understand, really understand what procrastination is doing to your life.  Just to drive home the point, here are 10 dangers of procrastination:

Spiked levels of stress
Burdened with regret and guilt
Fear of failure and fretfulness
Incomplete tasks
Complaining more than usual
Blowing off opportunities
Sabotaging possibilities
Missing targets
Poor time management
Higher levels of anxiety and stress

If you are like me you have probably experienced most or all of these destructive effects of procrastination. As you probably know, procrastination also negatively impacts those around you in profound ways. It shows up in almost all areas of your life as well as the people who depend on you in those spaces so we must do something about it. The time is now. Together, let's take our life back. Are you ready? 

When has procrastination negatively impacted your life? Do you have an example of a time procrastination helped you? 

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I guide women to display their best attributes and strengths in the best possible light while boldly exhibiting their genuine genius.

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