All The Ways That Procrastination Harms Your Health

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing an action. It’s a habit that many people struggle with, and it can have some serious consequences for your physical and mental health. In this article, we’ll discuss the repercussions of procrastination on your physical and mental health, as well as four ways you can stop your procrastinating habit.

Procrastination’s Effects On Physical Health

Though many people don’t realize it, the fact is that your physical health is harmed by frequent procrastination. Procrastinating your work puts you at a higher risk of certain health conditions, compromises your immunity, and discourages you from engaging in healthy habits. 

Discourages Healthy Habits

When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to engage in unhealthy habits. For example, you may be less likely to exercise or eat a nutritious meal if you’re putting off doing something. Or, you may not be inclined to exercise or may develop a habit of putting off going to the doctor. These bad habits prevent you from taking care of your body properly, which can lead to serious health concerns. 

Higher Risk Of Certain Health Conditions

Procrastination also increases the risk of certain health concerns. For example, frequent procrastination can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Furthermore, those who procrastinate often are more likely to experience hypertension or cardiovascular disease

Furthermore, if you are not exercising or eating well, you are also at a higher risk for obesity. Obesity can lead to a number of other health problems, including type II diabetes and sleep apnea.

Compromised Immunity

Procrastination can also compromise your immunity. When you’re stressed out, your body produces more cortisol. This hormone can suppress the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to colds, flus, and other illnesses. 

How Procrastination Hurts Your Mental Health

In addition to the physical health problems procrastination can cause, it can also lead to some mental health concerns. These include stress, anxiety, guilt, and low self-esteem. Let’s take a closer look at these concerns.

Stress

When you procrastinate, you may feel a sense of stress. This is because you’re worried about the task at hand and whether or not you’ll be able to complete it. If you continue to procrastinate, then this sense of stress will only increase. 

This stress can lead to a number of other mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Furthermore, stress is a contributing factor to a number of physical health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and sleeping disorders.

Anxiety

Anxiety is another common side effect of procrastination. If you’re procrastinating in the first place, then you probably are doing it because the task makes you feel anxious. However, the very act of procrastination only amplifies this feeling, especially as the due date looms closer and closer. Chronic or severe anxiety can lead to other mental health concerns such as depression or panic attacks. 

Guilt

Procrastination can also lead to guilt. This is because you may feel like you’re not living up to your potential or that you’re not doing what you should be doing. This guilt can lead to a feeling of inadequacy and can make it difficult to enjoy your life or feel satisfied with your career.

Low Self-Esteem

Those feelings of guilt may also lead to lower self-esteem. If you procrastinate often, then you may feel ashamed of doing so or feel inadequate or that something is wrong with you because you aren’t being as productive as you should be. If unchecked or untreated, these feelings can lead to depression and other painful mental health conditions. 

4 Ways You Can Stop Procrastinating Now

Now that you know about the health concerns, you’re probably inspired to stop your procrastinating habit. Here are four ways you can do that.

Eliminate Distractions

One way to stop procrastinating is to eliminate distractions. This means getting rid of anything that will take your focus away from the task at hand. For example, you may want to turn off your phone, close your email, or log out of social media when you’re prepared to tackle your work. 

Break Down Your Work Into Manageable Steps

Another way to stop procrastinating is to break down your work into manageable steps. This means breaking the task down into smaller pieces so that it doesn’t seem as daunting. For example, if you’re writing a paper, you may want to start by brainstorming ideas, making an outline, and finally writing the paper. Or, if you have a dozen projects to work on, just start with the smallest or easiest one. 

Just Start Somewhere

We often procrastinate because the task is too overwhelming, and we don’t know where to start. A good way to overcome this is to just start somewhere. It doesn’t matter where you begin, as long as you do so. Once you get started, it will be easier to keep going, and you will be more likely to stay motivated and productive.

Use A Time Tracking App

If you find it difficult to focus on your work, you may want to use a time tracking app. This will help you to stay on task and will allow you to see how much time you have left to complete the task.

One popular time tracking option is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break. After four Pomodoro sessions, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. If these work sessions seem too small for you, you can always lengthen them to meet your needs and work style (such as working 50 minutes with a 10-minute break). 

Final Thoughts

Procrastination does more than just irritate your boss. If you procrastinate often, you may be putting your health at risk. Procrastination can lead to a number of health problems, both physical and mental. Therefore, you should apply some of the tips in this article so you can finally beat your procrastination habit.