Procrastination almost destroyed my life, here are 12 bad habits I had

wasting time

For many years, procrastination was destroying my life and most days it was a battle to get anything done.

Procrastination can cause severe problems if you let it get out of hand. That said, everyone procrastinates at some point, and if you don’t let it get too out of control, it may even have some benefits for you.

As young people, we often have deadlines and essential things to do, but at the same time, there are always more distractions than we can handle.

For myself, procrastination was a severe problem that made my life feel like a meaningless mess. If you have ever felt like that, then this list may give you some reason to try and do something about your procrastination.

1) I wasted All of My Time

The most obvious reason why procrastination was destroying my life is that it made me waste all of my time. This reason hardly deserves any attention because it is so apparent. Still, at the same time, I know that we all have a limited amount of time on this earth, and every minute we waste is a minute we can’t use to do things that might be important to us.

For much of my life, I wasted my time procrastinating; most of my time at university was spent doing nothing, which prevented me from achieving some of my goals back then. The funny thing is, now that I am older and have more responsibilities, it is harder for me to find time for the things I want to accomplish, so procrastination is no longer an option. 

When we are young and don’t have any responsibilities, it is easy to waste our time because we have nothing better to do.

As I got older, I have less time, which means if I waste my time now, I won’t be able to do any of the things that I want to do.

2) I Didn’t Get What I Want

When I was in high school, I liked a girl; one Sunday afternoon, she called me and asked if I wanted to go to a hockey game with her. I said ‘No, I have homework.” At the time, what I wanted to do, was spend time with her, but because I had procrastinated all weekend, I had piles of work to do.

Unfortunately, due to my rejection of her that day, we never got another chance to do something, in the long run, that made me feel bad and was something I remember to this day.

One of the more complex reasons why procrastination can destroy your life is that it prevents us from getting what we wanted. When we are young and going to school, we might not be sure what we want from life, as we might not have any goals. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that we want; instead, we might not be sure about them.

When we procrastinate we tend to waste the free time we have avoiding what we need to do.

However, what happens is that while we are wasting time, we are pushing back the things that we need to do. When we waste an afternoon watching videos, then at night time, we have no other choice but to finish our work. The problem is that when something you want to do comes up, you won’t be able to do it because you’ve got stuff to finish. 

Beyond the day to day missing out on what I wanted, it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted from life, and in part that can be attributed to my problem with procrastination.

3) I Felt Bad About Myself

As the previous story suggests, procrastination was destroying my life because it made me feel bad about the things I wasn’t doing. Sometimes that means missing out on fun with friends, whereas in other situations, it meant doing poorly on an exam or not finishing an important assignment that I could have easily done.

My procrastination was making me feel discouraged and pessimistic about my future, which only made things worse.

Often, I felt crappy about what I wasn’t doing or needed to get done. Luckily I would sometimes get the motivation to get my work finished, which helped me feel better at times. I was fortunate in a way because I was able to fight my procrastination enough so that I didn’t fail out of school.

Now that I am older and have less time, I’ve learnt how good it feels to finish something that I have been putting off. This isn’t to say that I don’t procrastinate sometimes, but instead, if I can get past it and get stuff done that I want to do, I always feel better.

The key is that when I didn’t do all that I could, it felt bad, but when I did it always felt better.

4) My Performance Sucks

One of my biggest regrets from when I was a student was that I always did way worse than I could have. I remember having a really important project due for my ecology course; at the time, I was into the different sorts of equations that we were learning for the class. Our project was to create a new equation and test it out. Early on, I talked to my professor about my idea, and he was pretty excited about what I was going to try to do.

Unfortunately, despite my excitement and his, I bombed on the project. It got finished and was handed in, but it turned into 56% instead of 90%, which I was capable of doing. That said, this wasn’t the only assignment that I did poorly. I was a low C student throughout university, but I could have easily been a great student if my procrastination wasn’t always getting in my way.

Procrastination was destroying my life because my performance always sucked, and I never put in the effort to get things done well.

Interestingly, when I went back to school after graduation, I didn’t have the same problems and did much better; I was a straight A’s student.

5) I Prevent Myself From Figuring Out What I Wanted

As I mentioned at the end of the last section when I went to post-secondary school for the second time, I did much better; that was in part because I didn’t have time to procrastinate. But the other reason was that I knew what I wanted, and I was taking a program that helped me work towards those goals.

It was easy to push off doing school work cause it was always something I had to do rather than something I wanted to do. In my mind, there was always a justification, “this is just school; I will move on to better things when it is done.” At the time, this made sense cause I didn’t know what I wanted and figured there was always something better that was going to come along.

But due to my laziness, I never let myself find out what it was that I wanted.

Procrastination was destroying my life because every time I didn’t do my work, it wasn’t like I was doing something important; I was often just wasting time. This meant that eventually, I would have to do my work, but it would always be a rushed job.

The stress and distraction also meant not have time to try out different things and see what I liked or wanted to do.

After I finished university, I got a job that sucked, but it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted from my life. It took a while, but once I sorted it out, I had a lot more motivation and goals to work towards.

6) I Create Extra Stress in My Life

Being behind on my work and not believing in what I was doing created a lot of extra stress in my life. For me, procrastinating was destroying my life because it gave me more stress than I needed and could handle. I’m sure that I self-medicated a lot during university because of all the stress I was under.

Whenever we put off doing what we have to do, we create a smaller and smaller window to get that stuff done. Having to rush can have its benefits, but it also makes for a more difficult experience.

Always needing to rush and never being able to relax created a lot of unnecessary stress in my life.

I realize that life can be stressful for everyone, and that was also true for me. But not getting my work done on time and always having to rush on the last night created extra stress. I knew at the time that it was difficult, and my life could have been easier if I stopped procrastinating, but I couldn’t want to do it.

7) I Wasn’t Able to Get Help

A huge lesson that I learned as a procrastinator was that I couldn’t get help when I needed it. If I started my assignments when the teachers handed them out, I would have had a lot more time to figure them out and work out my problems. I could have also asked for help if I had a question.

The problem for me was that I always waited till the last minute; this often meant that I didn’t realize what problems I could have until the night before the assignment was due, so, at that point, there was no one to ask for help. The effect here was that my work suffered doubly due to my procrastination problem.

The first thing was that I never had enough time to do the work and was always rushing; the second thing was that if I needed help, there was never anyone to ask cause it was always too late.

Procrastination was destroying my life because I never had the time to ask for help when I needed it.

Luckily I was usually able to figure things out well enough to pass, but I never did as well as I could have. If I had been more focused and able to get help when I needed it, I would have done much better at school and might not have had to go back to take another program afterwards.

8) It Took Me More Time to do Things

One way that procrastination was destroying my life was that it always took me longer to do everything. If you look at how long it took to do an assignment, it would have been the same if I was procrastinating or not, but when I wasn’t doing my work, I wasn’t doing anything important. Usually, I was watching movies or surfing the web.

This meant any task would take however long it took, plus the time I wasted before doing it.

As I was always doing this for almost every assignment, I was always wasting days to finish one single project. If I had focused and done my work right away, I would have had so much more time, and that time would have been more enjoyable because deadlines wouldn’t be lingering over my head.

Although we do things other than what we must do when we procrastinate, that doesn’t mean we are doing anything worthwhile. Instead, we are just pushing back the inevitable, which does nothing at all to help us.

9) I Miss Out on Opportunities

One of the biggest opportunities I missed due to procrastination was that date I talked about earlier. Another big one was my career; in my last year of university, I wasted time and didn’t put any effort into finding a job, which meant that there was no job for me when I graduated.

Procrastination was a huge burden because I missed getting started with things that other people my age were already doing.

One difference between my brother and me is that he started working at his career as soon as he was done school, while it took me a while to find my place. The difference in the few years between starting work meant that my brother was ready before me when it came to buying a house. Now when I want to buy a house, prices are so much higher than they were 10 years ago.

Procrastination almost destroyed my life because it let me sit on the sidelines while the world kept progressing. If I had worked harder earlier on, my life might have been different today.

 10) People Avoid Working With Me

One of my most distinct memories from university was during exam time, all of my housemates were busy studying in their rooms while I was in the living room reading a book. I remember my housemate Matt said to me “Rob, why are you reading? We have a huge exam tomorrow!”

I didn’t care about the exam, but this was made worse because he and the rest of my housemates didn’t want to study with me for our next exam, cause they knew I hadn’t studied.

The people I lived with knew that I was a huge procrastinator, so they never wanted to work with me on projects. They also didn’t want to do any other tasks that required teamwork, as they knew I wouldn’t be as ambitious as them. For me, at least, I was kind of lucky because a lot of times, we were randomly assigned partner, so people couldn’t avoid me if they wanted to.

My procrastination problem made it difficult for me to get my work done early, which made other people not want to work with me.

This was very destructive to my success as a student. Generally speaking, when people know that you don’t work hard, you gain a reputation, and those same people will try their best to avoid working with you when they can.

11) I Made Bad Choices

It is hard to say what came first, the bad choices or the procrastination, and maybe the procrastination was just a matter of making bad choices. But when I was procrastinating, it always led to bad choices. I remember there was one night when I thought I would have to pull an all-nighter because that was the only way I would be able to finish my assignment.

That night, I drank two cups of coffee around midnight because of my stress and the tight deadline. When I was finally finished doing my work, I might have been able to sleep a little, but I was still jacked up on caffeine, so that was impossible.

I’ve come to realize that I’ve better dealt with my procrastination problem because I have more time to think about my actions and can make better choices as a result.

Another thing that helps is having a plan, by knowing what I want to accomplish, I always have something to do, so it is harder to make a bad choice, as most choices are already made for me.

Procrastination almost destroyed my life because it often created a situation where I had no choice but to make a bad choice.

12) I Was Always Tired

Related to the above problem of making bad choices, my procrastination often resulted in me not going to bed when I was tired. Instead, because I had already wasted hours of the day when something was due, I had no choice other than to stay awake till it was done. And even though I did my best to pick afternoon classes, I still had to wake up before getting enough sleep.

For me, this was always a problem because I would do things to avoid doing work, and those things would always lead to me staying up way too late.

I’ve probably always had a habit of staying up too late, but it was exasperated by procrastination. The funny thing is that now that I get my work done on time, I still end up staying up too late. Maybe now I procrastinate on going to bed.

For a long time, procrastinating was a huge problem in my life. The most significant thing that changed for me was finding purpose in my life and having a goal that I could work towards. Now, I often know what I want to get done, so I do everything I can to get the obstacles out of the way of doing that. 

Procrastination almost destroyed my life because I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but now that I have direction, my drive is my most powerful tools to fight procrastination.

Do you find yourself procrastinating and avoiding working towards your goals? What are you going to start doing today to fight the problem?

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Robert Carr

Over the years, I've learnt to see things in a different light. This website is my place to share those insights and give my unique perspective on living a meaningful life.

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