5 Ways Procrastination Costs You 

procrastination self-help self-improvement strategies Jun 25, 2023
Procrastination Costs You - silhouette in a gloomy forest

My friend Ruthie used to joke that she was the “queen of procrastination” like it was something to be proud of. But, as she found out the hard way, it’s no joking matter. Procrastination costs you big time in terms of well-being, self-confidence, creativity productivity, and a whole host of other ways. The biggest one for me was what it cost me in terms of control over my life, and let me tell you, it’s not a nice feeling. That’s why I became what my family not-so-jokingly refers to as a “reverse procrastinator.”

If there’s a task I dislike, I try to get it out of the way first thing in the morning so the rest of the day will seem like an easy ride. It works whether I’m at home or in the hospital.

When I speak with people like Ruthie, though, I often hear stories like this:

“I had a meeting the other day with someone who, within an hour, had set my mind at ease over a situation that has caused me severe anxiety for years. I’m not going to go into details on what the situation is but suffice to say if I hadn’t procrastinated on setting up this meeting – for years! – it would have been dealt with and I’d be well on my way to that beach house I keep dreaming about.

Needless to say, I don’t call myself a queen of procrastination anymore. It’s not a joke, and it can have serious consequences. These days, I’m all about practicing get-stuff-doneness and crossing things off my to-do list every single day.”

That’s the value of getting past your procrastination. Discussing the risks and benefits, we thought of five things that are really affected by delaying something you need an answer for or something you need to do. I hope they help you get past procrastination and just get the task done.

Here are 5 ways procrastination costs you in your life:

1. Procrastination costs your self-image

Procrastination has such a negative effect on your self-image and self-esteem. When you put off doing something you know has to be done, you can feel like you’re being lazy or not living up to your potential. And that can lead to self-doubt, negative self-talk, and all the other nasty stuff that has you judging yourself and finding yourself lacking.

Completing the task has the advantage of getting the information you need, getting something off your to do list, and recognizing what your next step needs to be. This allows you to grow into your potential.

2. Procrastination costs you productivity

Procrastination has a significant effect on your productivity, and not in a good way. It makes it harder to achieve your goals and complete tasks on time. The worst part is that when you put off doing something until the last minute you end up with a rushed, half-a$$ed job that you’re really not proud of.

The truth is, procrastination leads to a massive backlog of work that piles up over time, making it even harder to catch up and, ironically, may cause you to put things off even more.

Being productive means using your time to its fullest potential. There are plenty of things you can outsource but if you’ve chosen to keep a task, get it done so you can get on with your productive day.

3. And it also costs you motivation

Not only is this a direct effect of the procrastination costs to your productivity because of that backlog of work, it makes it even harder to get motivated to start or finish the things you need to.

When you delay doing something, it’s even harder to start, opening the door to being easily distracted by shiny objects and other tasks. Have you ever noticed that when you have a project you don’t want to start, it becomes imperative that the house needs a good cleaning instead?  

This can all lead to a lack of motivation and a feeling of being stuck, making it harder to accomplish your goals.

Recognizing the problem is the first step to improving your motivation. Recognize procrastination for what it is, prioritize your tasks and just get them done. If you stop worrying about it and just do it, you save tremendous time and energy.

4. Procrastination costs in missed opportunities

Procrastination definitely costs you in missed opportunities. Who knows how many opportunities have been missed because you didn’t take care of issues in a timely manner.

When you procrastinate on taking action, you may miss a chance to land a new job, earn a promotion, or take advantage of a unique opportunity. It can also cause you to miss important deadlines that also come with significant consequences (think tax filing deadlines, funding application deadlines, etc.)

By doing the tasks you’ve accepted by the time they’re supposed to be done, you open yourself to a world of opportunity. Embrace it!

5. Procrastination costs you increased stress

Procrastination can cost you by increasing your stress levels exponentially. I’m pretty sure at least one family member’s heart attacks can directly be attributed to procrastinating on their issues.

When you put off doing something, it creates feelings of guilt and anxiety, which then kicks off all those negative emotions and self-doubt.  And while I’m no expert on negative self-talk (other than knowing how to avoid it), I have no doubt that the stress brought on by procrastination can lead to whole host of health problems.

None of us needs more stress in our lives. We are busy, productive, intelligent women caring for our children, our patients, our family, our colleagues, our community. We need to reduce our stress and learn to live with passion and joy.

Today’s Final Thoughts

As you can see, procrastination comes with significant costs and negative impacts on your life in all areas. Take some time to educate yourself and build an understanding of the impact of procrastination. If you do, it will be easier for you to take steps to break the cycle and develop healthy habits that lead to success.

Whether it’s setting smaller goals, breaking tasks into manageable steps, or seeking support from friends and family, many strategies help you overcome procrastination and achieve your goals.

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