There are many obstacles that we may inadvertently put up on our journey through life, and one of the biggest ones might very well might be procrastination. By sabotaging themselves this way, procrastinators actually choose paths that will hurt their potentially successful life.
Why would people do that to themselves? For some people, procrastination is just a way of life. Although it is frequently non-productive and maladaptive, it is nonetheless, their “chosen” lifestyle. We have all met these people. They don’t pay bills on time, they don’t take advantage of time sensitive opportunities, they leave essential chores to the last minute, and so on.
Procrastination is generally not a time management problem nor is it a problem of competence. Like many other conditions, procrastinators are not always aware of why they choose this path in life. It is a simple and normal fact that we all procrastinate occasionally, and there is nothing wrong with this. When we put off things in favor of doing something more fulfilling (or fun), for example, there are no long-term negative affects.
However, when procrastination begins to have negative effects on the procrastinator, his loved ones, or his career, it becomes a tool of destruction. Procrastination is not formerly acknowledged as a “learned” behavior, although often times in can be indirectly traced back to patterns in childhood.
Procrastinators become masters at looking for distractions, any excuse to avoid the need to examine what is really holding them back. They easily fall prey to such self- lies as telling themselves they will do it “tomorrow, or next week or next month”. This is most clearly indicated in examples of those who want to go on a diet, or quit smoking or any other major life change. These people never commit to something in the now; it is always regulated to the following week or month, thus justifying the delay even further, in the mind of the procrastinator at least.
Chronic procrastination masks for a time more serious health issues. In college students, studies have proven that constant or consistent procrastination can compromise a student’s immune system resulting in more colds, flu’s and the like. This illness, then takes on a major role and offers the student just one more justifiable excuse. Who could expect an “ill” student to write the perfect essay or thesis after all?
Another example of extreme procrastination would be the parent who is having difficulty with an angry and out of control teenager. In the age-old “ostrich” theory, this parent would write off potential issues like emotional or psychological illness as just a case of “normal teen-age” melancholy. This allows the parent in this example to close their eyes and hope the situation clears up on its own.
In summary, minor procrastination is nothing more than just human nature. Who hasn’t blown off a chore here and there for a simple respite like a day at the beach or a lazy, do nothing day? Spontaneity and fun are far more important in life than, say, doing the dishes or washing the car.
That said, however, procrastination becomes a serious problem when it starts to hurt. When it is used to hide deeper emotional issues or circumstances, avoiding it will lead to bigger problems. If it affects any aspect of your life in a negative way, or the healthy functioning of your loved ones, it is time to seek professional assistance.
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