“You can dance in the storm. Don’t wait for the rain to be over before because it might take too long. You can can do it now. Wherever you are, right now, you can start, right now; this very moment.”
The bittersweet spot where all is fine but not great. The safe, comfortable zone of bearable but deep dissatisfaction.
The fear of failure, being judged, fear of change or being too busy to take on another challenge keeps us resisting the tasks that could quickly propel us from mediocre and dissatisfied, to excellence and incredible satisfaction.
This bittersweet safe zone of hesitation and delay is, of course, procrastination. We are all guilty of it. Even the most productive of us have experienced procrastination at some point in time.
Sometimes it can be good, when things become overwhelming and you need to get your thoughts or strategies in order. In cases like these it is good to stop for a bit, get yourself in order and the answers will come without you even realizing it.
However, there is a thin line between delay and procrastination. If we wait too long to get back into the swing of things, this could swiftly lead to dangerous procrastination, and all the effort you put in thus far goes straight to waste.
Why do the most talented and driven people procrastinate?
In my opinion, it is because people do not know their own potential and worth.
I have met many people in my life who are smart enough to run an empire if they would just focus and put in the effort, and yet they choose to be stuck behind a desk where no one notices them or their worth, including themselves.
There are different opinions about why people procrastinate. Motivation Grid lists the main reason for procrastination as a fear of failure. Other reasons listed by Motivation Grid include perfectionism, low energy levels and a lack of focus.
If you haven’t experienced at least one of these (or all the same time), consider yourself lucky. Life tends to shake us to our core sometimes, and even the most menial tasks become difficult to focus on, never mind doing the tasks that will make you thrive.
If you find yourself guilty of procrastination most of the time, instead of beating yourself up because you think you’re being lazy, disorganized or lack willpower, there is a way you can nip this in the bud. Have a look at this post from Psychology Today. This post will help you to determine the reasons why YOU procrastinate, and how to tackle this problem. Ask yourself the questions in this post and take a hard look at what your priorities are.
It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself.
The Life Ruining Effects of Procrastination
You might think of procrastination as something minor that can be looked over for now and can simply be dealt with tomorrow (basically the definition of procrastination), yet the effects of being perpetually unproductive can have dreadful effects on one’s self esteem and outlook on life.
If we cannot be honest with ourselves and identify that we are procrastinating and wasting precious time, it can very easily develop into chronic procrastination. Before we know it, we are deep in the throws of negative thoughts brought on by an unproductive way of life.
Here are a few consequences of procrastination that can have a profound negative effect on your life:
When we simply exist without achieving anything this could lead to negative self belief. What is life without a purpose after-all?
When you don’t achieve anything, or even try to achieve anything, you may start to feel worthless and life can seem like it’s not worth living. Yet you will find that even if you’ve tried to achieve something and failed, you’ll still feel as though you’ve achieved something, as you would inevitably have learned something new, and this is a stepping stone in the right direction.
On the flip side, when we set goals for ourselves, we put in the effort required to meet that goal and reap the rewards of achievement, the sense of self-worth makes us mentally stronger. We learn more from our mistakes and start to make better decisions. We feel stronger and more capable of taking on more challenges. Eventually the achievements start to flow like a river and we start to feel more and more like winners.
In an article about the relation between depression and procrastination, Dr Timothy A Pychyl determined that the correlation between depression and procrastination is mediated by self regulation , also known as self control. Dr Pychyl suggests that sharpening your self regulation skills, instead of directing your attention to limiting procrastination, is the answer to slowly overcoming procrastination.
2. Health Issues
A 2010 study conducted by the Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, concludes that stress, anxiety and procrastination are connected, in an article aptly named ‘’I’ll go to therapy eventually’’, These in turn can lead to health issues such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension among others.
Now imagine how much it will cost you to take care of these health issues, only adding to your existing stress.
Think about the last time you had a deadline to meet or had to do something important. You put it off, and put if off, and kept putting it off until you were running out of time. How did you feel when you eventually HAD to do this task whether you liked it or not?
The pressure was mounting, so you probably did a shoddy job, despite knowing that you might have to suffer the consequences of a job badly done under unnecessary pressure and stress that you’ve brought upon yourself.
It is likely you also experienced insomnia, fatigue, low motivation levels, headaches, digestive issues, among other issues.
3. The Harsh Realization of time wasted
How sad is it to realize that 5, 10, even 20 years have gone by, and yet nothing has changed, except everything else around you. And there you are, stagnant, in the same place you’ve always been, still dissatisfied but used to it, still yearning for more but never having the courage to do something about it.
The singer Des’ree said it best in her song lyrics:
What a terrible feeling it must be to look back knowing that you cannot turn back the clock. The lost opportunities and experiences. Never knowing the true bliss of living the life you truly want, on your own terms.
And yet all it takes is that first step. Just one step can lead you to freedom, satisfaction and a quality of life you’ll never have if you don’t start to take control. If you want to finally do something for yourself and take on a challenge you absolutely can handle, click here. One step is all it takes, the rest will simply fall into place.
4. Performance, Satisfaction, Success (the lack thereof)
Putting things aside now means that you will have to do them later anyway. Later means more pressure and stress, and likely, less quality work. Whether this task affects your personal life or your job, the consequences will no doubt be negative.
A shoddy job means more problems down the road that will need to be fixed. Not to mention the monetary costs involved in fixing problems that could’ve been avoided.
When it comes to your job, this could mean missing opportunities like promotions or performance based bonuses. Even worse, it could lead to termination.
When it comes to your personal life, how successful can you be in your personal life if you’re not successful in the task you’re supposed to be doing your best at….you job? In some cases (these days in most cases) jobs and personal lives are interlinked.
How can you be happy or thrive at either if you don’t self-regulate? How can you be successful if you can’t even meet a deadline, or your health has declined so much because of stress that you cannot take on anymore challenges?
And how can you be successful if these are the consequences of procrastination?
How to turn this all around?
Overcoming procrastination is not an overnight feat. For some it has become a habit.
Consider the studies mentioned in this post. Ask yourself the questions posted by Psychology today and consider looking deeper into how you can self-regulate to become more productive and start achieving your goals.
If you’re serious about overcoming procrastination, watch this TEDx Talk by Nic Voge about Self Worth Theory, The Key to Understanding & Overcoming Procrastination.
This will help you to understand more about why people do this to themselves and how to overcome it in your own way.
Here’s to overcoming your procrastination, and wishing you great success in the future!
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