Procrastination is a destroyer of life, hopes, and dreams.
Too many people live with worse health, lower-income, and a sense of giving up because they have procrastinated on the things that could have moved them forward.
In this article, we will cover 23 ways that procrastination hurts you.
1. You get things done, but the wrong things
One of the ways we procrastinate is by filling our time with other tasks. We need to do project A, but we do tasks B, C, and D, which aren’t as important, instead.
You may need to work on a report or paper, but you clean up instead.
You tell yourself that “at least I’m getting stuff done”, but the truth is, you aren’t getting done what’s most important.
You may get things done with procrastination, but too often they are tasks that don’t really move you forward.
2. It creates more stress and overwhelm
The more you put off, the more that is on your list (whether written or mental). Over time, even the little things add up.
You may have little to-dos around the house to do, but you keep putting them off. Over time, they add up more and more and create more stress on you.
The more you put it off (and the more you put it off), the greater your stress and overwhelm will be.
And, if you have a big task that you dread, the longer you wait, the more that builds and the more stressed you may be about it.
3. Your work is not done to its full potential and is lower quality
When you procrastinate, often you put off the work you need to do till the last minute. When that happens, it’s usually not done to your full potential and it’s lower quality than it could have been.
That, as we will mention later, hurts whatever the task is for, and it also hurts your career.
4. It holds you back in your career
Procrastination can hold you back in your career. If you are constantly late or have lower quality work because you keep putting things off, then you won’t move forward as fast (or at all).
If people can’t rely on you to get things done timely or you are always seen as wasting time, doing unimportant things instead of the important, that hurts you.
5. It keeps you from meeting your goals or reaching your dreams ( or needlessly delays them )
When you procrastinate, it keeps you from achieving your dreams and accomplishing your goals.
You may have 100 excuses why, but if you never start moving toward your goal or dream (or you keep putting off work you need to do for it), you will never reach it.
And, if you eventually do, it’ll be a lot later, harder, and more stressful than it could have been.
6. You don’t learn as well
Procrastination hurts your learning. The best learning happens with recalling information over time, not with the night before binge studying.
Yes, you may remember it for that next day, but long-term, it doesn’t work very well.
7. It hurts your health
It also can hurt your health. If you constantly are going to bed late because you are working on things you put off (or you just put off sleep), you are hurting your health and your productivity.
Having enough sleep is not only important for your health, but it helps you focus and be more productive.
If you put off exercising, it’s hurting your health.
If you put off your diet because of busyness, you are hurting your health.
Too often the first thing to go when we get busy or stressed is our exercise, sleep, or healthy eating.
Don’t let that be you.
8. It wastes time
When we procrastinate, we usually procrastinate on the important tasks – and so we do tasks that are less important or wasteful.
We do busywork and things that seem “urgent” – but in reality, they aren’t that important.
Or we just piddle instead of doing what we need to be doing.
Being busy is not the same as being productive.
9. You miss opportunities and chances
Procrastination leads to missed opportunities and chances.
If you are constantly putting things off, never ready – how will you know when opportunities are nearby? And if you aren’t ready, how will you take advantage of them if you do see them?
If you constantly procrastinate, you may have opportunities slipping through your fingers – and you don’t even know it.
10. You earn less money
When you constantly procrastinate, you aren’t going to earn as much money.
Your company hires you to produce. You are like a factory – the more output you give, over time, the more money you will earn.
The problem is, when you procrastinate, you aren’t as productive. Your output is lower. You are less likely to get that promotion or raise.
11. You get less done
When you procrastinate on tasks, you get less done. Yes, you may be “busy” doing stuff, but when it comes down to what’s important and what brings the most value, it just doesn’t produce.
12. It lowers your self-esteem
When you constantly procrastinate, it can lower your self-esteem. You may see yourself as someone who is always behind, who never can get things started or done on time.
You may dislike the quality of work you produce, so it leads to a lower self-image.
13. It brings about worse consequences in our decision making
Procrastinating on a decision to have time to think about it can be a good thing. Delaying for a bit can help you see the bigger picture, avoid acting on emotion, and help you get out of a narrow frame of view.
However, the problem with procrastination is when you are indecisive. You don’t know what to do – so you don’t make any decision.
Unfortunately, when you don’t decide, that’s a decision. And, often, the longer you take before acting, the greater the consequences will be for the delayed start.
Often making the best decision you can with what you know is better than no decision at all.
14. It hurts your reputation
If you constantly procrastinate, you are killing your reputation. If you are constantly late, rushing at the last minute, not reliable – guess what, that’s the reputation you have.
And, if you want to move far in life, that’s not a reputation you want to have.
15. You make lower grades at school or marks on performance reviews
If you are always procrastinating, as we’ve mentioned previously, your quality of work is lower. If that happens, guess what happens at your performance review?
Not as good as it could be (now, whether yearly reviews are effective, that’s another topic for another day).
Same with grades. Yes, you can binge study last minute, you can save your papers till last minute, etc., but in the long run, that can hurt your grades (and, even if you still do well with it, the chances it could have been better are high and the degree of learning you could have obtained is likely lost).
(Side tips: There is something to doing the paper, putting it down, working on it a few days later – that can help. If you get the rush and feel like you do your best last-minute, set your own deadline early and treat it as the real one. That way you still have time to go back and edit it.)
16. You make more mistakes
Procrastination leads to more mistakes. If you are constantly rushing, more mistakes will happen.
And what that means is the task you put off because “you didn’t have time” now is taking more time because you are having to go back and redo it or fix the mistakes.
17. It takes more time to get things done
As we just talked about with the mistakes above, when you rush or are late or don’t finish with the best quality, often there are mistakes. And when there are mistakes, there are corrections and fixes to be made.
If you took the time to do it right the first time and do a proper editing or whatever you needed, not only would it be better quality, but it takes less time because you don’t have to go back and fix everything.
Also, if you are rushing the last minute to do things, generally you don’t have everything organized, ready to go. So you waste time last-minute running around, stressed, getting what you need to get it done.
18. It hurts your relationships
Being a procrastinator can hurt relationships.
If you are constantly late, don’t do what you say you will do when you say you will do it, and so on, that makes it where people can’t trust you.
You let people down. They can’t rely on you.
And that can hurt those relationships.
19. It makes it too late to resolve issues (without extra work or cost – or just too late)
If you delay going to the doctor, what may have been minor and fixed relatively easy is now big – and the process will be more extensive to fix it – if at all.
If you procrastinate on getting your car repaired or maintained – it costs you more in the long run.
If you don’t take care of you’re a/c or house or whatever it may be – as long as you keep putting off tasks – it makes the potential problem worse – and it costs you more.
20. You waste money on needless fees
If you put off paying bills, taxes, or whatever it may be, you are shooting yourself in the foot financially. All those late fees and so on add up.
How much more money would you have in the bank if you didn’t have to pay those so much? What else could you do with that money?
21. It can lead to guilt
Procrastination can lead to guilt. You may feel guilty for not getting things done as well as you think you should.
You may feel guilty for letting others down by being late or putting things off.
22. It can make you less satisfied with life
Those who constantly put things off have been shown to be less happy than those who get things done and accomplish their tasks and goals.
Not accomplishing goals and tasks can be a downer. You may feel guilty (as mentioned above) or feel anger at yourself or have a negative view of yourself.
You may start blaming others and playing the victim because of your procrastination habit, which keeps holding you back.
23. It can be a sign of other issues
Procrastination can be a sign of other issues, such as fear, anxiety, and so on. Some may fear failure, so they don’t try.
Some may fear success and what it entails, so they procrastinate. Some may have a low self-image and don’t think they deserve success, and that leads to procrastination.
It could be a sign of rebellion, control, or one of many other things.
For you to overcome that procrastination, you are going to have to deal with that other issue.
Procrastination can harm us in many ways – it can make you less satisfied in life, less productive, cause hurt relationships, and so on.
It can also be a sign of other issues that you need to deal with if you want to move forward well in life.
I encourage you to take the time to look at why you may be procrastinating and start working on overcoming it.
Now to you: How do you think procrastination has hurt you the most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!