Procrastination is the ultimate time vampire. We are all guilty of it at some point or another; (hello Netlfix, goodbye 7 hours of your life!). Some of us learn to develop greater awareness of our procrastination habits. For many others, however, procrastination is killing their productivity and, in turn, makes their overall time management wildly ineffective.
Below are the 5 most common side effects of Procrastination and its potential impact on not just your time management but also your life.
1. You lose your most valuable currency:
Yes, you read that correctly, not the Benjamins but time. The one common denominator for us all is the 24 hours of the day that you get regardless of wealth, social class, or celebrity status. There is a reason the phrase ‘you get the same hours in the day as Beyonce’ became a thing, however annoying as it may be to hear. That reason is the level playing field we all have is time. Time is and always will be your most valuable currency, and how you spend it can be costly. Ask any new parent, and the first thing they will tell you is, ‘I don’t know what I used to do with all my time!’. This revelation happens for many of us the busier your life becomes. The challenge is we are now busier than ever before between work and kids and the in-between, we lose even more of our precious time through Procrastination, time that, quite frankly, we just don’t have to lose.
2. It lowers your self-confidence:
Yes, Procrastination can actually lower your self-confidence. This is because self-confidence is both built and lost in honoring the commitments that we make to ourselves. This includes where we spend our time. How many of us have made a goal such as a new workout regime or improved eating habits and stuck to it for a few weeks. The impact of showing up for ourselves means we then begin to feel our confidence improve as we continue to honor our commitments.
Many of us, however, have also experienced the shame and loss of confidence that comes with failing to honor our commitments; hello, one weekend of pizza eating and falling off said diet and losing all momentum in your new regime. The reason this knocks our confidence is that we train our subconscious mind to believe that we don’t honor commitments that we make to ourselves, and this makes us less likely to actually believe that we can achieve our goals, which is an integral part of the goal-setting process and the results we get.
3. It impacts your certainty and belief around your goals:
Yes, piggybacking off point number 2, when we procrastinate on taking action on our goals, we undermine the most important factor of creating forward momentum on achieving our goals: certainty and belief. Certainty and belief is created through tapping into our potential, taking action, and seeing results. Procrastination is the killer of both tapping into our potential but, most importantly, taking action on our goals, which means we see no results and fail to increase our certainty and belief that our goals are even possible. Every time you procrastinate in taking action on your goals, you are removing the certainty and belief that those goals are even possible for you, and so the cycle continues.
4. You negatively impact your overall health and wellbeing:
Yes, it is not just the impact on your overall time management that you need to be concerned with when it comes to time management. Medical News Today links the effects of Procrastination on our mental health as increased stress and anxiety and lower levels of overall well being. In fact, many of those who struggle with Procrastination also see a decrease in overall happiness and an increase in feelings of overwhelm and fear. There are even studies that link the most common forms of Procrastination (Netlfix and social media bingeing) to poorer sleep quality, more fatigue, and increased insomnia.
5. You lose out on the fun:
It is not just your time, goals, and deadlines that you risk losing with Procrastination, but also the opportunity for fun and connection. Instead, you waste your limited ‘downtime’ feeling anxious and overwhelmed at the fact you have procrastinated. Losing yet more time to the consequences of procrastinating, to begin with. Fun and connection are integral parts of our overall productivity, and without these, our overall results suffer. In fact, a study at Warwick University showed that people are 12% more productive when they are happy. Nothing is more motivating than when we feel happy, and nothing kills the emotion of happiness quicker than the emotions of fear and anxiety.
So how do you combat Procrastination and stay motivated? Well, the first place to start is in bringing awareness to where and why you are procrastinating. Once you bring awareness to how much of your time you are spending on Procrastination, you begin to see patterns in the tasks that induce Procrastination. Often they are the biggest tasks that have the biggest consequences. This can often be due to an underlying fear such as rejection or failure (if you have ever had to do sales calls or present to a board room, you will know these feelings well).
Once you identify your procrastination ‘triggers,’ you can begin to create structure around your day and implement the needed mindset shifts that it takes to stay productive. These include time management tools like ‘Eating the Frog,’ i.e., doing your biggest needle-moving tasks and activities first thing in the morning, when you have the most discipline and motivation. Another great time management tool is time blocking. This is whereby you block out 30 or 60-minute blocks to complete tasks whilst removing all distractions (bye-bye phone and email notifications).
Changing your thinking is another fundamental part of avoiding Procrastination, which makes creating new habits such as affirmations like ‘I am productive’ and ‘ I take action on my goals’ alongside other habits such as journaling and meditation. These amplified over time and coupled with the time management tools mentioned above can increase your overall action taking, ensuring you honor your commitments to yourself and increasing that ever-important bucket of certainty and belief.
Lastly, have some compassion for yourself; you are human, you will have ebbs and flows in productivity and momentum, and when you fall off, rather than punishing yourself and entering the inevitable shame cycle, focus instead on the speed of your rebound. That is ultimately where results and success are lost or found.
So, what will you be taking action on Today?