We all have the tendency to dodge things for next time. People often avoid doing important and stressful task despite knowing that it might have consequences if not done within the deadline, such behaviour of avoidance is called procrastination. The term “procrastination” originates from the Latin term pro crastinus, which means “for tomorrow”.
Everyone procrastinates from time to time. For many people it is an essential coping mechanism in a high- stress society. Though it has some benefits but increased procrastination can also limit a person’s productivity. Spending too much time in procrastinating can make you lazy and unable to complete daily important tasks. People who procrastinate too much might have a strong desire to stop but they feel that they are unable to do so.
Procrastination cannot be diagnosed as it not some mental condition. However it can occur due to some mental health issues, namely: –
- ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: – People having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often face difficulty in managing time and organization. They tend to procrastinate often than others. People are more likely to procrastinate when ADHD co-occurs with bipolar disorder.
- Depression: – one common effect of depression is that people suffering from it have low self-esteem. People who have low self-esteem tend to doubt their capabilities and so often avoid or delay doing the important tasks.
- Anxiety: – Anxiety develops a fear of failure in people.it results in lack of confidence in one’s ability to do a task and leads to procrastination in order to avoid failure in short-run.
Some researchers suggest that procrastination is closely linked to mood. When stressed or overwhelmed, people may procrastinate in the hopes that their future might be equipped better to tackle certain task.
We all get lazy and often put off chores, waste a whole working day or keep on postponing important tasks and then rushing to complete them last minute. But too much of it has an effect on performance, whether at school or work. But do you know- procrastinating also puts your health at risk.
Procrastination for a longer duration can lead to chronic stress, difficulty at school and at work and may also lead to trouble in relationships. People who procrastinate may end up working late in order to complete the work and thus avoid spending time with friends and family.
According to psychological studies procrastination is often associated with reduced mental health, increased levels of stress and reduced levels of well-being. Some common effects of procrastination on individuals include: –
- Poor grades in school.
- Underperformance at work place.
- Financial difficulties cause due to putting off important responsibilities.
- Feelings of shame, anxiety or guilt.
- Poor physical health, if exercise or nutrition is avoided due to procrastination.
There seems to be two ways by which Procrastination Can Affect Health– one being stress and the other being behaviours that have a poor impact on health.
Procrastination creates stress and anxiety: –
Avoiding and postponing important assignments or tasks can cause you to worry later while rushing to complete the task before the deadline. Worry or stress leads to different sickness such as migraines, spinal pains, influenza, sore throat or conditions like coronary illness and high blood pressure. Procrastinators are also likely to have a poor mental self-view and are harder on themselves, they lack self-empathy. Also these add to feeling of anxiety and stress. There are higher chances that procrastinators might resort to drugs, smoking or alcohol in order to cope with the stress and disengage from the reality.
Procrastination affects sleep quality: –
It has been found that people who procrastinate frequently have poor sleep. At night they sleep for few hours and then find it difficult to stay awake during day. They also might need medicines in order to sleep well, this is because they are often restless and stressed, which affects their sleep quality.
Procrastination affects physical well-being: –
Various studies have shown that procrastination is connected to physical health. Procrastination can lead to poor physical well-being as well. Procrastination affects sleep quality. Poor sleep can lead to numerous problems such as blood pressure, constant headaches, poor concentration and weak immune system. Also various studies have shown that procrastination increases a person’s vulnerability to cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Procrastination impacts immune system: – Procrastinators have poor immune system and fall sick more often than other. This results due to negligence. Stress caused due to procrastination often weakens the immune system and makes you more vulnerable to diseases. Procrastination also makes you neglect your routine health maintenance, such as you might avoid going for a routine doctor’s visit, or a dental check-up. Their hesitance to eat right and exercise regularly makes them weak and prone to illness.
Procrastination impacts your work performance, success and satisfaction: – Procrastination has a negative impact on one’s performance at work. People who procrastinate tend to spend less time on any give work, delay in completing important tasks and tend to earn less. Procrastinating too much can also lead to unemployment and you might not be able to achieve your goals. It also leads to poor financial decision making.
Procrastination isn’t something that one can get rid of instantly. However few changes in your lifestyle pattern can bring a change in your behaviour and lead you to stop procrastinating.
In order to stop procrastinating, we first need to understand and realise why do we procrastinate?
People procrastinate due to many reasons. Some of us may get a rush of excitement in doing a work last minute. While others put off things due to their fear of failure. Some even have a fear of success. There are also some people who procrastinate because they cannot take decisions. We also often tend to put off things when we have poor self-discipline or are impulsive or have a bad mood or a bad day. Sometime we delay things because we disagree with them or we won’t get immediate rewards for our actions.
In case you have been procrastinating then it is important to remember that beating yourself up about it will not help. You have to do it the right way. Here are some strategies to help you overcome or stop procrastinating: –
- Understand what is making you procrastinate: – Lack or structure, uncertainty, absence of self-empathy, difficulty to understand tasks may lead you to procrastinate. Dealing with it- for example making the task fun and interesting.
- Find accountability: – Remember you are accountable for your doings. Frequently checking the progress of tasks helps some people stay motivated and continue making progress. You can ask you friend, any family member or a loved one to help you stay on track with important tasks or assignments.
- Forgive and trust yourself: – Forgiveness comes hand-in-hand with trust. Realising your mistake and forgiving yourself for procrastinating and result in lower chances of procrastinating in future. Remembering the ways they are equipped to handle and complete a task makes it easier for some individuals to avoid procrastination.
- Start small: – Getting started is the most difficult task. Don’t take too much load in the very beginning. Move step by step.
- Take help of a therapist or counsellor: – If there is some mental health concern then take the help of a professional. A therapist or counselor will be able to guide you better and help improve your mental health and thereby help you to overcome procrastinating. Frequent procrastination can have a negative impact of daily functioning. In such cases therapy can help people identify why and when do they procrastinate, replace self-defeating thoughts with more productive thoughts, and learn new behavioral strategies to cope with stress.
If you feel that you are a procrastinator, then ask yourself: What do you really want to achieve here and now? Then follow the steps. A few lifestyle changes may lead to significant improvement in both mental and physical health. When properly managed, Procrastination doesn’t need to be viewed as a problem. The real problem isn’t procrastination but our failure to keep it in check. All you need is your will and you are ready to take on the world.
There is abundance of resources online which is completely dedicated to curing procrastination. Speaking of online, to know further about procrastination you can contact Naturals by Skas. We offer health products online. Our products are completely natural and Ayurvedic with no added chemicals. To check our products you can Click Here.