We’ve all done it, right?
“One more cup of tea and I’ll wash the dishes.”
“Just one more episode of [insert your favorite show] and I’ll get right back to work.”
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“I’ll try next time.”
If we let it, procrastination can easily take hold on all aspects of our lives.
The worst part about procrastinating is that it can become a habit.
We console ourselves about missed opportunities and deadlines with a common excuse… oh well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
But in reality, we are just allowing ourselves to fail.
The effects of procrastination are long reaching.
It can be as harmless as putting off doing the laundry but extends right into critical decisions that can impact our businesses and personal lives.
Why We Procrastinate
There are many reasons why we put off doing things, delay starting a project or refuse to advance and take risks.
Fear of Failure
Even before starting, we imagine all sorts of disastrous scenarios in which we fail miserably at what we plan on doing.
For example, you scheduled today to write and send emails to offer your services to potential clients you would love to work with.
You start planning in your head what you might write in your email and then you think – who am I kidding, who will want to work with me anyway? – and decide to do something else instead.
Even before you think about how to succeed, you imagine how many ways it will fail.
Fear of Success
Some of us are actually afraid of success.
If I send an email offering my services and many are interested, I might not be able to:
- Live up to their expectations.
- Handle all the work
- Get it done on time
Maybe I’ll wait until I’m sure I have everything perfectly set before I send any emails.
This kind of thinking makes us miss many opportunities that could be the answer to our success.
Fear of Disappointing Others
If no one answers my email, I’ll have no client.
My spouse will be disappointed in me since I quit my well paying job to pursue my dream of working from home.
The thought of disappointing them or the way they will perceive us, as failures, can be overwhelming and stop us from doing what needs to be done in order to succeed.
Paralyzed by Fear
What if I send the emails and get clients and, since I’m new, I make tons of mistakes, and they don’t want to work with me anymore.
I should do one more course to make sure I know everything before I start getting clients.
To make mistakes is human and will happen eventually. We let the fear of what might happen to stop us from getting ahead in our business and our personal life.
As perfectionists, we want the job done perfectly, and we will push the task aside until you feel like we can do it up to our standard.
It sometimes can mean waiting years and decades!
To Avoid Unpleasant Tasks and Situations
We procrastinate for the simple reason that we don’t want to do it.
If the work is unpleasant or deemed to be too hard, we may give it a pass or avoid doing it until it’s just too late.
Effects of Procrastination
Procrastinating once in a while is normal.
But for some, it has become habitual to procrastinate on a daily basis. Procrastination can then have many negative effects that will reflect on your work and personal life.
Great opportunities don’t always come along or await us.
If we don’t act on them, they may never come by again. Before we know it, we’ve procrastinated ourselves right out of business altogether.
It means your competitors will get way ahead of you and you will miss the chance to reach your highest potential.
It can have devastating effects on your career and business.
Affect Your Reputation
If you do not deliver the work you promise or are late more often than not, clients will not trust you with their business.
In some cases, you might even start to lie to cover up for your shortcomings.
Not accomplishing the things you want to do in life and beating yourself up for it can, unfortunately, have devastating effects on you and your self-esteem.
It goes back to the area where we procrastinate because we don’t feel like we deserve to succeed. We convince ourselves we are only destined to fail.
Affects Your Health
The stress of always being late and keeping tabs on all the things you should be doing but aren’t can have adverse effects on your health.
According to research conducted by Fushia M. Sirois for the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, procrastination could increase risks of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Affects Colleagues and Loved Ones
If you work on a team, this habit of putting things off will not only affect you but them as well.
Others have to cover for you and make up for the work you didn’t do. You can’t put off something that other people need finished and keep a team happy.
If you do, you won’t have your job for very long.
If at home you procrastinate to pay the electric bills or to call a maintenance specialist to check out your leaky roof, your family might wake up to a flood in the kitchen and no electricity!
Feeling of Guilt
When bad situations arise because you did not take actions, you can’t help but feel guilty and beat yourself up for procrastinating.
So much time is spent trying to avoid the things we should be doing. Life is short, and procrastination robs us of precious time that we can never have back.
Not Living Up to Your Full Potential
All the things we want to do with our lives. All the things we want to accomplish in our business. All of it can be taken away from us if you let procrastination take the wheel.
Tips to Stop Procrastinating
Make a Plan
You need to change the way you think.
Sound easy? It is.
If you make a plan, you then have the task in your mind.
It’s like at the beginning of the school year when you get the schedule for all the big assignments.
You have it, you know when they are due, but you don’t start reading the book until the day before the project is due.
Look at the students who did the work months before.
They made a plan, did the work and can focus on studying for the big test.
So, make a plan.
Take Small Steps
Take small steps to get into the habit of saying yes, of doing tasks when they need to be done and going that extra mile to keep you and your business thriving.
It’s already hard enough with your competitors and everything else you have to do.
Be kind to yourself and say yes to opportunity.
It’s okay to be scared.
It makes you move forward, realize your potential and it makes the next opportunity all that much easier to tackle.
Start With Your Least Favorite
Try to complete the jobs you like the least, first. That way they are out of the way. If you do the ones you like or the easiest ones first, you may never get to the hard or complicated ones.
Get the Big Job Done First
Figure out how long each task will take. If you can get the bigger ones out of the way first, you have more time to make sure you get them done right. Plan to finish all the projects on time and finish them well.
Asks For Help
There is no shame in needing assistance.
Whether it’s a co-worker, an outside source or just an ear to bend, don’t be shy about asking someone for help.
Letting yourself get overwhelmed isn’t a good place to be, and you are far more likely to throw in the towel and not complete any of your tasks.
Get It Done
Some people are happy to get the pay cheque and do the same job every day.
But you didn’t start your own business to give up because it is difficult at times (a lot of the time!).
You need to take control of the situation that is making you procrastinate and not let it take over your business and life.
Don’t let procrastination become a habit.
At home, putting off the dirty dishes just means we have to do them later.
The job will be harder because we’ve allowed the sauce to sit on the plates, making it harder to get off.
The same can be said for business opportunities we miss. It makes it that much harder to get ahead.
So, get your workday done and do the dishes.
Then you can relax, have that cup of tea and finish binge-watching that new series.
Do you procrastinate? Let me know in the comments below!