Procrastination is often the label given when we don’t take action, or when we start something and don’t see it all the way through to completion.
At some point, even the most productive and focused people succumb to procrastination. We may not even realise it, but procrastination will affect our happiness and how we feel each day.
Why People Procrastinate
There are several reasons why people procrastinate and these include:
- Having conflicting priorities.
- Not having a clear criteria for deciding what to do next or not willing to make a decision on what to do next.
- Being afraid of making a mistake or doing something wrong, so it’s easier not to do anything.
- Avoiding something because it’s uncomfortable, difficult or confronting, so it’s easier to do something else.
- Not believing in themselves.
- Not being interested in what they know they should do next.
If we don’t address these things, we’ll constantly perpetuate the cycle of being productive, then becoming unproductive for a period, before becoming productive again.
Whenever I notice myself procrastinating, it often comes down to one of the above reasons. Recently, I was creating a brand new program to help business owners improve their business results. I envisioned it to be a combination of online training and interaction with me.
I started off well but a couple of weeks into it, I noticed that I wanted to work on other things instead of completing the program. This continued for a couple of weeks as I was only allocating a small amount of time to the development of the program.
When I realised I was in a pattern of procrastinating, I stopped and analysed why that was the case. It was because I didn’t believe in myself to create a powerful business program that could help many business owners. Just knowing that made me realise I wasn’t being of service to myself and others, so I had to reconnect to “why” I was creating this program in the first place.
That made it so much easier to get back into the development of the program. And the strange thing was when I was in that period of procrastination, I was unhappy, with myself and just how I was feeling about things.
Why Procrastination Will Reduce Your Happiness
Here are five reasons why procrastination will reduce your happiness and affect how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
- You will feel regret more often. As we procrastinate, we’ll feel extra pressure then guilt for not taking action, which will end up as self-criticism and regret. All of these emotions will affect our mental state and how we feel in a negative way.
- You won’t make progress as quickly as you would like. Naturally, if we don’t take action, we won’t get the outcomes we want. The more we procrastinate, the further we’ll feel we’re falling behind, which adds to our stress and anxiety levels.
- You will start comparing yourself to others. Since procrastination will slow us down, it will be easy to compare ourselves to other people who may appear to be making faster progress than us. Again, that will affect our emotional state because we’ll see ourselves as worse off than someone else.
- You will judge yourself more. One thing that can happen is we’ll give ourselves labels such as, “I’m a procrastinator” or ”I’m not an action taker.” That will affect our self-confidence and self-esteem, which will reduce our overall happiness and well-being.
- You will lose integrity with yourself and others. Once we make up excuses why we’re procrastinating or why we haven’t done something, our integrity will be affected. When we don’t keep our word, we lose trust with ourselves and others, which can have a serious effect on the quality of our relationships.
How to Overcome Procrastination?
Here are two simple things we can do to overcome and avoid procrastination.
- Hold yourself accountable. Some of us are driven by reward and some are driven by pain. Having an accountability partner is an effective strategy to ensure we do the things we know we should.
- Have a clear intention for everything you do. If we know why we’re doing something and the potential benefits for doing it, and the costs for not doing it, procrastinating will not be an option.
The more effective we become, the less chance there’ll be for us to procrastinate. If we address the reasons why we procrastinate, we’ll be more productive, make progress faster and feel better about ourselves, which will result in us feeling happier.
Action Step: Identify the real reasons why you may have been procrastinating, then address them. Enrol an accountability partner as soon as you can.
Question: What could be another reason why procrastination will reduce our happiness?