Reducing the Effects of Procrastination on your Body and Mind

By: Janet Smith

Not medically reviewed by Dr. Erin Stair

Procrastination and delaying putting off important tasks can have a massively detrimental effect on your mental and physical health. Worry, anxiety, and stress can all manifest in physical as well as psychological ways. Both are damaging to our bodies and minds.

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The key is to tackle what needs to be done as soon as possible. However, for some people, the small act of taking the step to complete that specific task is often more daunting than the tasks itself. It’s all fun and games sharing memes that you’re putting off things and avoiding the task at hand, but when this issue starts to affect you, then it is time to look at how you can work towards resolving your worries, anxiety and be able to tackle the issue at hand,

Time Wasting

Procrastination, at best, is simply the act of wasting time. The longer you take to resolve the issue, the bigger the problem gets until you can’t take it anymore. It is often quoted, “why put off tomorrow when it can be done today” Making yourself more proactive needs to be done carefully to fully maximise your time and allow yourself to be free of the strain of procrastination.

Make lists prioritise tasks; for example, when facing family law issues, write what you need to tackle first and the steps involved in the process to help you break it down into more manageable actions. Please give it a time limit and be resolute in getting it done.

Be Accountable

If you are guilty of wandering off-topic when left to your own devices, make yourself accountable. This can be by adding another person into the mix who will push you to sort out your issues. It could be making appointments to complete and resolve the problem.

Address Your Reaction

Ask yourself why you react the way you do and put things off until it is no longer feasible. Address how you feel. The feelings you are experiencing will play a big part in how fast you can complete tasks and highlight aspects that worry you. If possible, look for alternative ways to get the job done to avoid situations that will increase any negative reactions you are experiencing, such as sending an email instead of making a phone call. Or indeed making a phone call instead of a face to face meeting.

Focus on the Result of Avoiding Procrastination

Let’s be honest; procrastination can cause undue stress and worry until you finally manage to resolve the problem. Identify how you feel and the reactions and behaviours that are feeding your procrastination. Next, identify a time when you actually did a task you had been putting off and how you felt when it was done. 

Did you feel relief, happiness, reduction in stress and anxiety or even did you sleep better that night? Focus on the benefits of and how you feel afterwards, much like how exercise can help lift your mood, so can ticking things off a list that you have been avoiding. Because in most cases, the ‘what if’s’ are much scarier than the actual issue.

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