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Procrastination: Causes and Prevention

19 July 2021

Each of us is haunted by procrastination. Some people are fortunate enough to recognize this habit in time and take action. We used to believe that procrastination is a harmful habit since it wrecks lifestyles and steals aspirations. Procrastination may have certain advantages, but it is still a behavior that can negatively impact jobs and life. If you don't cope with procrastination efficiently, your mental health will suffer.

Procrastination can have negative consequences ranging from just missing a deadline on an important assignment to something more long-term, such as a lost opportunity that crushes a dream. Some of us may be fortunate enough to recognize our procrastination inclination early on and take action. Others may experience long-term consequences that will reverberate throughout their lives.

Why do we procrastinate?

Procrastination causes differ from person to person and are not always clear. According to recent studies, more than 20% of Americans are "chronic procrastinators." The reasons for our procrastination are not always clear.

If you lack self-confidence, you may postpone because things appear more difficult or beyond your talents. When we equate pain with accomplishing anything, we procrastinate. That pain could be exertion, discomfort, or the perception that the work is complex or stressful. However, this is solely your interpretation or impression of the activity at hand. It makes it appear much larger than it is. It could be a buried fear that we don't want to admit, or it could be as basic as not wanting to do anything because it doesn't stimulate us. It can range from dread of failure to passive-aggressiveness, which states that no one will tell them what to do. It causes a lack of needs and expectations, which might lead to the discontinuation of a job.

Let's take a quick look at some of the few positive effects of procrastination before we list the cons and keep those in mind before they affect us:


  • Procrastination allows you to ponder on what is most significant to you.
  • Procrastination aids in learning how to deal with delays.
  • Procrastination can occasionally result in far superior decisions.
  • By procrastinating, we can complete other tasks on our to-do list.
  • Procrastination may be beneficial to your capacity to prioritize.
  • Procrastination accelerates the processing of thoughts.


Losing Valuable Time

The worst part about procrastinating is realizing you're three or five years older, yet nothing has changed. This is a dreadful emotion since you can't turn back the clock; you're stuck with the hopeless sense of regret. Nothing is more frustrating than getting upset with yourself because you know the circumstances could have been so different if you had just made that first move.

Missing Opportunities

Every person had missed out on opportunities because they did not seize them when they were available. You passed up an opportunity that may have changed your life. And the harsh reality is that most opportunities arise only once. 

Not Reaching Goals

When we think about objectives, about aiming to achieve or improve something, procrastination tends to kick in full effect. You may have a tremendous desire to change, but you cannot seem to take the initial step. We make goals because we want to improve our lives in any way. If you don't do anything because of procrastination, you diminish your chances of improving your life.

Damaging Careers

Your working style has an impact on your business outcomes. If procrastination hinders you from time management or completing your objectives, you risk losing your job. Even if you can mask it for a while, long-term postponement at work will eventually harm your career.

Bad Decision-Making

When you procrastinate, you make choices based on factors that would not be present if you did not procrastinate, such as the stress to make that decision because time is running out. Feelings significantly affect our actions, and procrastination raises unpleasant emotions, leading us to make choices that aren't in our best interests in the long term.

Damaging Reputation

It's self-evident: if you repeatedly promising you'll do something and then don't, your credibility will inevitably suffer. Furthermore, in this instance, your self-esteem and self-confidence will suffer, and you will eventually lose people's confidence. Keep in mind that a bad reputation might have a variety of undesirable consequences.

Health Risks

Procrastination has been connected to psychological health problems such as anxiety and stress, which have been linked to health difficulties. If your procrastination causes you to feel depressed, it will begin to affect other aspects of your life.

What You Can Do

Taking action is the remedy to procrastination. Consider how many times in your life accomplishing a task made you feel much better, cleared up your schedule, and enhanced your self-confidence. Taking action isn't always easy, so keep reading to find out how you can get started:

Tackle The Most Difficult First

Because most individuals have greater focus and motivation early in the day, it makes more sense to first tackle the most challenging activity. This will boost your mood, and every subsequent task will be more straightforward after the first. Set a time limit for the most demanding work, so you don't invest all day in it.

Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself.

Procrastination's partner in crime is perfectionism. Remember that "good enough" is acceptable. It is always possible to improve it over time, but the time spent perfecting it may be spent doing something else. The same is true when it comes to making important decisions. Set a deadline for researching and data gathering. Then proceed to make the best conclusion you can base on the information presented. 

You will feel disappointed if you procrastinate or if tasks take longer than intended. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up or being extremely harsh or judgmental of yourself can cause you to postpone even more. You begin to associate more pain with procrastination, which exacerbates the situation.

Minimize Distractions

Make your workspace distraction-free. Disable mobile notifications. Our brain will hunt for reasons to distract you from duties you don't want to accomplish. Your brain detects a notification, and before you realize it, you're not completing the task at hand. Maintain a clean desk as well. The term "mess" refers to stress.

Do It Now

Repeat those words aloud to yourself. "Do it now" until you feel motivated to complete the work. If you repeat this phrase frequently, your subconscious mind will take upon it. Before you realize it, you'll have formed a new routine and will be instinctively taking more action.

Eliminate "Have To," "Should," and "Must"

When you hear the words "must," "should," or "have to," your brain feels as if it is being told what to do, and it fights. Imagine someone telling you that, and you will almost certainly revolt. That is what your brain does when it hears these words. Use words like "choose," "could," or "desire" to present choices and options, then consider the repercussions of not doing it. Your mind will then recognize that you have an option, but with that decision comes responsibility.

Change Your Way Of Thinking

If you feel strongly about how your chronic procrastination stands in the way of your objectives and dreams, this will become a subliminal belief, and this will be how your life would go on. Consider how adept you are at completing complex and time-sensitive jobs on the spot, as well as how well-organized you are with your time. Your inner self will eventually accept that as reality, and you will automatically get more tasks done sooner.

Break Tasks Up

Divide it into smaller parts. For example, if you're reading a novel, you may decide on five pages today, another five or more (or less) tomorrow, and then write a few pages or a chapter per day.

Set Target On Completion

Overcome the disadvantages of procrastination by focusing on how you should feel once the activity is completed. You would then feel more motivated and compelled to take action right away.

Reward Yourself

Aligning a reward with work completion will boost your mood. Your brain will begin to equate getting things done with some form of compensation. That's beneficial for getting the job done as well as your overall joy and fulfillment.

Procrastination's effects may not appear to be all that severe at first, but they can accumulate over time, resulting in anxiety, broken dreams, stress, and low self-esteem. Rather than allowing procrastination to take root, take the time to create stress and time management measures to help you cope with it when it arises.