Tons of articles are written about why you shouldn’t procrastinate or how to stop procrastinating. We know we shouldn’t put off things for tomorrow that can be done today.
It adds unnecessary stress to your life, increases health problems, wastes time, etc. When you realize all the different ways procrastination can hurt your life, it’s clear that you should prioritize making at least a little headway in reducing it.
Here’s a list of 10 things to tackle:
1. Become Your Own Best Friend
People who beat themselves up for putting off important tasks tend to lack self compassion. These type of procrastinators experience high levels of stress, which can do some serious damage to their health.
A 2015 study found that people who procrastinate are more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and hypertension. When you’re kinder to yourself, you feel less stress without entangling yourself in negative emotions. When people maintain an inner sense of well-being, they are more inclined to take action even if it’s risking failure. We need to realize and accept that unrealistic expectations destroy self esteem. There’s no such thing as perfection.
2. Tend to your basic needs
This is not a news flash, because we all know we need to tend to basic life necessities that make us fully functioning human beings: exercising, eating right, drinking water, and sleeping. For procrastinators, some of these are hard to maintain on a daily basis.
The body and the brain support each other. When you treat your body right, you produce new blood vessels in the brain, making it easier for the brain to do its job.
3. Go to the Dentist
It’s probably not a wise idea to wait until you have a toothache to go to the dentist. A root canal inevitably ensues. It’s probably one of the most dreaded tasks, but going for a checkup and teeth cleaning every six months is preventative care that is going to reduce the chance of bigger problems. Plus, not only is a root canal one of the most dreaded dental procedures, root canals cost a lot of money, anywhere from $700-$900 per tooth. Don’t forget dental insurance while you’re at it.
4. Pay off student loans
What happens if you default on your student loans and act like they don’t exist? You get into further debt which will haunt you down the line. Friends of mine had $20,000 in student loan combined when they were in their 20s. That debt increased to $90,000 before they reached 50 years old. Now, they cannot buy a house because they defaulted on their loans. They are intelligent people who made a bad decision.
Instead of spending 20 percent of your monthly budget on eating out, put that money toward paying debt, for example. Eliminating any bad financial habits will save you heartache and money in the future. Be honest about any senseless spending problems and remedy them.
5. Tell people you love them
Tomorrow is not guaranteed. End a conversation with family or friends with an “I love you.” Waiting too long, responding too late, and refusing to make a commitment are the stuff tragedies are made of. Procrastinating saying those three little words could haunt you down the road of life.
6. Go on vacation
Americans are getting better, but still aren’t great about using are their earned vacation time. When is the last time you took your kids to Disneyland or went somewhere with a group of friends? You earned that time off, take it.
7. Check off bucket list items
Along the same lines of skipping vacation is neglecting your bucket list. You’re missing out on a big, wide world out there. You only live once. Right? Jump out of an airplane, go to our beautiful national parks, take a trip to a foreign country. The sky is the limit.
8. Clean your house
Piles of laundry on the kitchen table, messy bathroom counters, and unmade beds are signs of total chaos. Sometimes there’s not enough time in the day to do daily chores, but slacking off on keeping a tidy house only makes it worse – just like everything else that you put off. Doesn’t it give you a little peace, serenity, and sense of accomplishment after scrubbing, washing and vacuuming everything in your abode?
9. Talk to a professional
Sometimes we can’t figure out stuff on our own. For some people, procrastination can be persistent and tremendously disruptive to everyday life. For these individuals, procrastination may be symptomatic of a psychological or neurological disorder, such as ADHD. You may feel a lot better about yourself if you talk to a professional third party, so don’t delay.
10. Study for tests
College students are notorious procrastinators. Psychologist William J. Knaus estimated that 90 percent of students procrastinate; 25 percent are chronic procrastinators and usually the ones who has drop out of college.
This goes for writing papers, too. After realizing how super stressful it is to write a paper four hours before it’s due, you vow to break the cycle of procrastination for good. Oops, I did it again!
In the words of motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “There are two types of pain you will go through in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tonnes.”
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer based in Boise, Idaho. She has a B.A. in Journalism and is a former newspaper reporter. Melissa frequently writes about physical and mental health, education and business. When she’s not hovering over a keyboard, she can be found riding and running in the foothills of her city. You can find Melissa on Twitter @madtris.