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7 Negative Effects of Procrastination: Causes and How to Overcome It



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Do you ever find yourself putting off important tasks until the last minute? Maybe you just don’t enjoy doing them or are easily distracted. Whatever the reason, procrastination can have some serious negative effects on your personal and professional life.

In this article, we will discuss the effects of procrastination, what causes procrastination, and how to overcome it. First, let’s start with a baseline definition of procrastination.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of putting off something that you should be doing now in favor of something that can be done later.

We’ve all been there : an important project is due soon, but instead of starting it early and having plenty of time to complete it, we procrastinate and wait until the last minute. Why do we do this? It’s not because we’re lazy or don’t care about the project.

In fact, it often has more to do with our emotional state. When we’re feeling anxious or stressed, we may be more likely to put off starting a project because we don’t want to deal with negative emotions.

Procrastination can also be a form of self-protection. If we’re not sure we can complete a task successfully, it may be easier just to avoid it altogether. Of course, this isn’t productive in the long run and can often worsen the situation.

If you find yourself procrastinating, try to take a step back and figure out why you’re doing it. Once you know the source, you can start working on a plan to overcome it. With a little effort, you can break the cycle of procrastination and get back on track.

The 7 negative effects of procrastination

5 negative effects of procrastination shown in a branching graph
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Procrastination can have serious negative effects on your career. If you habitually put off important tasks, you may find yourself falling behind at work. Your coworkers and boss will likely notice your poor performance, and it could lead to negative consequences such as a demotion or even getting fired.

In addition to damaging your professional reputation, procrastination can also lead to financial problems. If you’re constantly putting off paying your bills, you may end up accruing late fees or even damaging your credit score. In the long run, procrastination can make it difficult to achieve your career goals.

2. Relationship issues

Procrastination can have a negative effect on more than just your work—it can also lead to relationship problems. After all, if you’re putting off doing things that are important to your partner, it’s only natural that they’ll start to feel neglected. In addition, procrastination can lead to arguments and resentment, as your partner may feel that you’re not taking the relationship seriously.

3. Heightened stress levels

Chronic procrastination can lead to heightened stress levels. When we put off doing something, we often end up feeling anxious and stressed about it. This can lead to a vicious cycle of procrastination and stress, which can be tough to break out of.

4. Mental health issues

Procrastination can have a major impact on your mental health. When you put off important tasks, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, guilt, and low self-esteem. In severe cases, procrastination can even lead to depression.

If you find yourself regularly putting off important tasks, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you identify the underlying causes of your procrastination and develop a plan to address them. Don’t let procrastination take a toll on your mental health. Seek help today.

5. Physical health problems

Why does procrastination take such a toll on our health?

One reason is that chronic procrastination can lead to increased levels of stress, which in turn can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to illness. Procrastination can also lead to unhealthy behaviors like skipping meals or sleeping less, which can further contribute to physical health problems.

6. Loss of valuable time

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. It’s true that we all have the occasional moment of laziness, but when procrastination becomes a habit, it can have serious consequences.

For one thing, procrastination leads to lost time. When you put off tasks, you’re essentially choosing to do nothing with your time instead of working on something that could be productive. Over time, those lost moments add up, and they can have a major impact on your life. If you’re always putting off work or chores, you’ll never get anything done.

7. Poor decision making

Procrastination doesn’t just affect your performance—it also has a negative impact on the quality of your decisions. That’s because when you’re under pressure, you’re more likely to rely on your gut instinct rather than taking the time to think through a decision. As a result, you’re more likely to make bad decisions that you’ll later regret. Procrastination can lead to anxiety and constant stress, which can further cloud your judgment.

Causes of procrastination

Procrastination is a problem that affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. While the causes of procrastination can vary from person to person, there are some common factors that contribute to this behavior. Let’s examine these factors.

Low self-confidence

Low self-confidence is often at the root of procrastination. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to put off doing things that we think will reflect poorly on us. We tell ourselves that we’ll do it later when we’re feeling better, or when we have more time, or when we’re in a better mood.

This can become a vicious cycle, as the longer we put something off, the more it weighs on our minds and the harder it becomes to start. Our self-confidence also takes a hit each time we procrastinate, which only makes it more likely that we’ll do it again in the future.

If you find yourself frequently putting things off, it may be worth taking some time to work on building your self-confidence.

Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem is often a driving factor behind procrastination. If we don’t believe in ourselves, why start anything? We may as well wait until we feel better about ourselves, right?

Unfortunately, this thinking creates a never-ending cycle. The more we procrastinate, the lower our self-esteem becomes, and the harder it is to start anything.


One of the primary causes of procrastination is perfectionism. You might think that setting high standards for yourself will motivate you to achieve great things, but in reality, it can have the opposite effect.

When you’re constantly striving for perfection, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and bogged down in the details. This can make it difficult to get started on a task, let alone finish it.

Instead of focusing on producing perfect results, try to focus on making progress. Progress is what ultimately leads to success, not perfection.

Fear of failure

Another cause of procrastination is fear of failure, or Kakorrhaphiophobia. Failure can be painful, but it’s also a necessary part of learning and growing. If you never fail, it means you’re not taking enough risks. By facing your fears and embracing failure, you’ll become better equipped to handle adversity and achieve success.

Underlying mental health problems

Many people don’t realize that procrastination can often be a symptom of an underlying mental health issue, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD.

If you find yourself frequently putting off important tasks, it may be worth talking to a mental health professional to see if there is an underlying problem that can be addressed.

By understanding and addressing the root cause of your procrastination, you can take back control of your life and start getting things done.

Tips to overcome procrastination

No matter how much you plan or how organized you are, there will always be tasks that you dread doing. Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies you can use to make even the most daunting tasks more manageable.

1. Break up bigger tasks into smaller ones

One of the best ways to overcome procrastination is to break up a challenging task into smaller ones. It’s called micro-planning: Instead of thinking about all the things you need to do, focus on just one small task at a time.

For example, if you need to clean your entire house, start with just one room. Once you’ve completed that, move on to the next room until the entire house is clean.

Recommended reading:

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

Favorite quote:

“the most finite, limited resource in our lives is time. We only have a finite amount of time to live. Why waste it?”

AllNewBusiness Rating: 4.1/5
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

solving the procrastination puzzle book cover
Solving the Procrastination Puzzle
solving the procrastination puzzle book cover

AllNewBusiness Rating: 4.5/5

Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

2. Assign meaning to your work

One of the main reasons people procrastinate is because they don’t see the value in the work they’re doing. They don’t have any emotional investment in it, so it feels like a chore instead of something that’s going to help them grow and improve their lives.

The first step to overcoming procrastination, then, is to assign meaning to your work. Why is it important? What difference will it make in your life? When you can see the value in what you’re doing, you’ll be much more likely to want to do it.

3. Manage distractions

Everyone gets distracted sometimes, but some people seem to get pulled off task more easily than others. If you find yourself frequently falling prey to distractions, there are a few things you can do to regain focus and get back on track.

First, try to identify the source of your distraction. Are you trying to work in an environment that is too noisy or cluttered? If so, see if you can find a quieter place to work.

Alternatively, you might need to adjust the way you work to accommodate your attention span. For example, if you have trouble focusing on long tasks, break them down into smaller steps that you can complete over the course of several sessions.

4. Reminder: Completion is more important than perfection

One of the most important tips to overcome procrastination is to remind yourself that completion is more important than perfection. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of a project and feel like it’s never going to be good enough. However, it’s important to remember that an imperfect but completed project is better than something that never gets finished.

Once you’ve completed a task, you can always go back and improve it. However, if you never finish it, it will never be anything more than an unfinished idea. So, if you find yourself procrastinating, remind yourself that completion is more important than perfection, and just get started on the task at hand.

Recommended reading:

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination

Favorite quote:

“People don’t procrastinate just to be ornery or because they’re irrational. They procrastinate because it makes sense, given how vulnerable they feel to criticism, failure, and their own perfectionism.”

AllNewBusiness Rating: 4.2/5
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

The now habit book cover
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination
The now habit book cover

AllNewBusiness Rating: 4.2/5

Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

5. Treat underlying conditions

There’s no shame in seeking professional help to deal with procrastination. In fact, it can be a very smart move. After all, procrastination is often the result of underlying conditions like anxiety, depression, or ADHD. By seeing a therapist or counselor, you can get to the root of your procrastination and develop a plan to overcome it.

Conclusion: Procrastination doesn’t have to control your life

Procrastination is the thief of time and it can have negative effects on our productivity, health, and happiness.  It’s important to understand the root causes of procrastination so that we can overcome it. 

If you’re struggling with this procrastination, try out some of the advice mentioned above. You can learn to overcome procrastination and lead a more productive, successful life with little effort.

Related: How to set professional growth goals

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