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5 Ways Procrastination Is Killing You, Literally!

Updated: Sep 29





Everyone procrastinates from time to time. It's part of being human. We all have those moments when we don't feel like doing something or don't know what to do.

The problem with procrastination is that it can become a habit. When you procrastinate, you postpone tasks, duties or responsibilities – often thinking it will be easier to do them another time or that the task isn't urgent or important.

But as we all know, putting things off until tomorrow almost always has a negative impact on our lives and our ability to succeed in whatever we are trying to achieve. Things get stacked up and overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to recover from.

Even if you aren't a structured person with a rigidly planned schedule, everyone should have some sort of routine in their life and an ability to prioritize — not necessarily every day but at least most days — consisting of specific tasks and activities.

These rituals help us focus on what we want in life, how to get there, and what baby steps we need to take to keep moving forward.

Here are five ways procrastination is killing you, literally!

You're Hurting Your Relationships

You're hurting your relationships when you consistently procrastinate and don't follow through with what you promise.


You may occasionally put things off because you're unmotivated or need to rejuvenate, but if you are constantly not fulfilling your promises, this will eventually erode people's trust in you.


Trust is at the foundation of every healthy relationship, and if people cannot trust you, it will be challenging to maintain a relationship.


If you aren't careful, your procrastination may leave you alone and wondering why no one is calling. So learn to say "Yes" sometimes, even when your first inclination is to say "No."

You Don't Have a Plan for the Future

If you don't have a plan for the future, you're likely to procrastinate. It can seem easier to put things off until tomorrow when you don't have any pressing obligations or a vision for what you want your life to look like.

This is a dangerous place, so if you don't want to wake up one day feeling like life is passing you by, make sure you have a plan for the future.

Let's be clear, you don't have to know all the details, but you should have an idea of the direction you're heading. You'll probably have to take a few risks along the way and step outside your comfort zone, try new things, and go after what you want.

This can be extremely scary, but you don't have to do it alone. You can start small and work your way up. You can also find support from others trying to do the same thing.

You Haven't Tamed Your Limbic System

Your limbic system is the part of your brain responsible for your emotions and urges. If you haven't tamed your limbic system, you will likely be more prone to procrastinate.

You might say you want to write, exercise, or meditate, but that urge to procrastinate could get in the way. Some people will quickly become overwhelmed, which is a clear sign that you are easily activated.


The good news is you can tame your limbic system by taking small pauses and practicing a more mindful approach to your life. To learn more about the nervous system's science, check out Dr. Stephen Porges's stellar work and the Polyvagal Theory.

Another great way to tame the nervous system is to connect with your heart. In my experience with clients, the Heart-Focused Breathing® Technique from the HeartMath Institute is a powerful and quick path back to a regulated state.

You Are Hard On Yourself

Many who procrastinate are hard on themselves. They find themselves putting off a task they must do and then living in regret and shame.


This self-deprecating cycle continues over and over again. When this cycle is present many will begin to see the outside world as together and whole while seeing themselves as fractured or broken.


If you struggle with this cycle, seek help, as this is a path to a joyless life.

Because Procrastination Is Addictive

While not all procrastination is a sign of an addiction, some of it is. In fact, many people who struggle with addictions also procrastinate. This is because many of the same areas of your brain are involved in both activities.

When you're procrastinating, you're probably not aware of it. Instead, you might tell yourself that you're just busy or have so many things going on in your life that you don't have time to do everything.

The truth, however, is that you are putting something off because you like the feeling it gives you. You're getting a rush out of it; it feels good like an addiction does. As a result, you may not even realize that you have a problem with procrastination until it starts to seriously damage the way your life is functioning.

Bottom line - Don't Procrastinate or At Least Notice When You Are

I recognize that just saying "Don't procrastinate" is easier than it really is to do for those stuck in the procrastination trap. But, in most cases, just bringing awareness to the tendency to put things off is enough to start the shift. So don't be afraid to call yourself out gently and lovingly; commit to doing a little better next time.

You will also want to be aware of the thoughts you are experiencing while procrastinating. Are you fooling yourself into thinking you will be more efficient? Or, Are you trying to avoid an uncomfortable situation?

When you break it down, everyone has their reason for procrastinating. Find yours and be willing to change. By doing this, you will lower your stress, learn to complete your tasks on time and shift the tendency to overthink everything.

By embracing the desire to change, you can lower your anxiety and stress levels and begin to build back the ability to lean into life rather than retreat and avoid it.

Go slow and reap the benefits of a procrastination-free life!


 

Dave is a Leadership and Life Coach living in Steveston, B.C., Canada.


Dave's expertise is with individuals and teams who feel stressed out and exhausted and know that they want something different.


In 2017, Dave left a career as a Senior Manager at a large Local Government organization to start Small Pause Coaching & Consulting. His philosophy about taking a pause and inviting in a new conversation, a deeper conversation, has supported hundreds of individuals and organizational clients.


He is a Certified HeartMath® Coach & Mentor, a Certified Trauma-sensitive HeartMath® Practitioner, a trained Equine Guided Learning Facilitator and a Certified Coach with the International Coaches Federation (ICF). Dave took his coaches training at the Newfield Network in Boulder, Colorado.


You can learn more about his work at www.smallpausecoach.com or look him up on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.


Dave also expresses his creativity through the Small Pause Shop, where he designs apparel that supports living life 'inside the pause.'


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