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If you’ve ever had the experience of putting something off until later, then you know what it feels like to have that unfinished project hanging over your head. We all know that the results of procrastination are no fun at all, but the thing that we don’t usually think about is the effect that that procrastination might be having on our health.
The effects of procrastination might not seem like such a big deal if you only procrastinate once in a while, but the problem is that, for many of us, procrastination isn’t a once in a while thing – it’s a habit that can affect us on a weekly or even on a daily basis.
For people who are health-conscious and who are actively trying to improve their health, it can be helpful to think about the possible effects that procrastination might be having on your health because that will give you a greater motivation to stop procrastinating and start working on your goals.
These are just a few of the ways that having a procrastination habit can affect your health:
1) The Failure to Meet Health-Related Goals
Most of us habitual procrastinators don’t just procrastinate on work or school-related projects. We also often procrastinate on other health-related goals, too, for various reasons. We might procrastinate on making changes to our diet or on scheduling medical appointments or on signing up for a fitness class that we’ve been thinking of taking but keep putting off.
When we find reasons to procrastinate on our health-related goals and tell ourselves that we’ll start eating healthier or making sleep more of a priority “tomorrow,” we end up cheating ourselves out of the health benefits that we could be experiencing right now.
2) The Stress of Racing Against Deadlines
If you’ve ever had to race against a deadline to get something finished, then you know how incredibly stressful that can be. Knowing that you have to do a lot of work in a very short amount of time and wondering if you’re going to be able to do everything that you need to do is enough to send your adrenaline and cortisol levels through the roof.
And, for those of us who can’t break out of our procrastination habit, we experience this stress of racing against deadlines on a regular basis and our stress hormones are constantly elevated much more than they should be.
3) The Subtle Stress of Unfinished Projects
Another form of stress that we can experience from our procrastination habit is the the stress of having unfinished projects. Unlike the acute stress of racing against a deadline to get something done in time, this stress is a much more subtle one, and it’s one we might not even be aware of.
When we have an unfinished project (or several projects) hanging over our head, we have the continual subconscious stress of knowing that we still have to complete a task that seems overwhelming or unpleasant. Once we finally cross those tasks off of our to-do lists, though, the relief we feel often makes us realize how stressed we had actually been before the task was finished.
4) The Cumulative Stress of a Family Member’s Procrastination Habit
The stress of procrastination can also have a cumulative effect if you have a child or a spouse or a parent who has a procrastination habit because then you are dealing with the effects of their procrastination as well as with the effects of your own. Or, even if you are the type of person who does projects right away, all it takes is having a family member who procrastinates to realize how stressful it can be.
Whether you have a child who constantly puts off homework assignments until the last minute and rushes to get them done (with necessary last-minute tips to the store to get supplies, of course!) or whether you have a spouse who puts off household projects until it gets to the point where the whole family ends up being inconvenienced by it, the procrastination of family members can end up being just as stressful as our own procrastination can be. And it’s twice as stressful for those of us who are struggling with our own procrastination habit, too!
Breaking the Habit to Improve Your Health
If you want to break away from your procrastination habit to reduce stress and the effects of that stress on your health, then you might find my new book Your Personal Procrastination Plan to be a helpful resource.
Your Personal Procrastination Plan is all about helping you to figure out the root cause of why you’re procrastinating in the first place so you can use strategies that are tailored to your individual procrastination tendencies and break the habit for good!
You can learn more about the book and how it can help you to stop procrastinating here: Your Personal Procrastination Plan
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.