Procrastination is often the label given when we do not take action, or when we start something and do not see it all the way through to completion.
At some point in time, 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 do we Procrastinate?
There are a number of 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 is easier not to do anything.
- Avoiding something because it is uncomfortable, difficult or confronting, so it is easier to do something else.
- Not believing in ourselves.
- Not being interested in what we know we should do next.
If we don’t address these things, then we will constantly perpetuate the cycle of being productive, then becoming unproductive for a period of time, 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 quite 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 small amounts of time to the development of the program.
When I realised that 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 be able to create a powerful business program that could help many business owners. Just knowing that made me realise that I was not 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 that when I was in that period of procrastination, I was unhappy, with myself and just how I was feeling about things.
Here are five reasons why procrastination will reduce our happiness and affect how we feel on a day-to-day basis.
- You will feel regret more often. As we find ourselves procrastinating, we will start to 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 fail to take action, then we won’t get the outcomes we want. The more we procrastinate, the further we will feel we are 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 very 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 will see ourselves as worse off than someone else.
- You will judge yourself more. One thing that can happen is we will 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 in turn, will reduce our overall happiness and well-being.
- You will lose integrity with yourself and others. Once we start making up excuses as to why we are procrastinating or why we have not 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 are doing something and the potential benefits for doing it, and the costs for not doing it, then procrastinating will not be an option.
The more effective we become, the less chance there’ll be for us to procrastinate. If we start addressing the reasons as to why we procrastinate, we’ll be more productive, make progress faster and feel better about ourselves, which in turn, will result in us feeling happier.
Question: What could be another reason why procrastination will reduce our happiness?
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