7 Signs That Procrastination Is Actually Starting To Ruin Your Life

We don’t take procrastination seriously enough. We see it as nothing more than a slight personality flaw that befalls all of us every now and then. You know, waiting until the night before to write that English paper, deciding to clean the dishes after you catch up on the last couple of episodes of American Horror Story, telling yourself that you’ll finish your chem homework…later. But for the average procrasinator, the paper is completed, the dishes are eventually cleaned, and the chem homework is finished in time. For a chronic procrastinator, the fate of those tasks is a little more unclear. Maybe the English paper is late, despite the last minute cram session. Those dishes? They aren’t touched for days. Oh, and the homework? Well, a chronic procrasinator might behoping that the homework just isn’t collected, or planning a conveninently schedueled bathroom break.

I have debilitating procrastination issues which are coupled with anxiety and ADHD, and it has had a massively negative effect on my life since I was a kid. And now, as a young adult, my procrastination issues are still garbage, but the consequences are a lot more severe than getting a few points off of an essay. But it can be hard to talk to someone who doesn’t struggle with procrasination about this, because they don’t really think it’s a big deal. “Everyone procrastinates!” they’ll say. They might be trying to make you feel better, but don’t let anyone else downplay this if you feel like your procrastination is turning everyday tasks and responsibilities into massive hurdles. Check out these seven signs that your procrastination is actually ruining your life. If some of this is hitting a little too close to home, you should definitely consider seeking some professional help; there might be something else going on that needs to be sorted out.

Your Grades Are Slipping Or Always In Jeopardy

This is the most important sign to watch out for, period. Again, everyone procrastinates, but many typical procrastinators manage to finish up their work, cram for that test efficiently, and keep it moving. You, on the other hand, aren't so lucky. Your procrastination leads to missed deadlines and mediocre performance (even though you know you could do better...if you just had a little more time). Your grades are either plummeting in a class you otherwise excel in or your grades are always on the line, no matter what, and the blame always falls on your problem with procrastination. Be honest with yourself: Are you someone who is procrastinating and still managing to get stellar grades? Or do you feel like you need to work twice as hard to get the grades you know you deserve?


You're A Perfectionist...To A Fault

Too often, people associate perfectionism with Type-A personalities with 4.0 GPAs. But it is possible to be a perfectionist who is struggling at school (or work). How? Because that perfectionism manifests differently. You're so caught up in producing work that is up to your standards that you get discouraged when anything doesn't meet those standards or goes awry. You know you can produce an awesome paper for your psychology test...but you need more time...and it's time you don't have...so what's the point? Sound familiar?

The To-Do List

You Know You Come Across As A Slacker, But You Really Do Try Your Best

You definitely act like a slacker, you'll admit that much, but it's not because you don't care. In fact, you have the best intentions to finish your work on time, and you're even confident that you'll succeed...at first. But then something gets in the way. Maybe that something is nervousness, or fear of failure, or a lack of confidence. Either way, something that you can't put your finger on stops you from doing your best, and you cope by avoiding the stress that comes along with those feelings of inadequacy instead of tackling what's giving you grief.

Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire

You're Constantly Coming Up With Excuses For Missing Deadlines

Instead of doing everything you can to finish your Gender Studies paper, you're spending time coming up with an excuse that you'll get away with. Hmmm, maybe you'll email your paper to your teacher and insert wonky looking code to make it look like a computer glitch? Say that you were sick? Swear that you thought it was due on another day and promise to turn it in in a couple of days? Maybe you'll just avoid turning it in entirely so you'll have time to come up with a killer excuse when your teacher finally brings it up. Look, I've been there, I've done that, and I know that it's easy to get caught up in a pattern of making excuses and talking your way out of bad situations, but this is maddening. If you've already found this out the hard way but still do it, you've got a chronic procrastination issue on your hands.

Some Girls

You Become Overwhelmed With The Very Idea Of Taking On A Task

You think about all the work you need to finish--studying for that history exam, finishing your econ paper, reading the next three chapters for English Lit--and instead of tackling each thing one at a time you...panic. You shut down because you're so caught up with the tasks at hand, and how awful you know you're going to feel, and how time consuming they'll be, and how you should have done this or that earlier but now it's too late. So what do you do in response? You avoid your responsibilities. And you know what? Sometimes you'll just get something over with and realize it really wasn't as bad as you thought it was going to be, but it's still easier to just ignore your looming tasks than to confront them, right?

UM, BEEN THERE. I'm not a doctor, but after talking to my therapist about this very problem, she said that this was very common for people who have generalized anxiety. You might want to consider talking to a doctor if this is having an impact on work or school.

The Brady Bunch

You Have Trouble Starting And Finishing Assignments

Maybe you'll have trouble starting something, but once you've given it a go you're good. Or maybe you'll be just fine starting a project, but it's finishing that always makes you feel stuck. These are natural problems to have, but they become a problem when you experience this trouble whenever you're down to the wire. Sure, some people work best under pressure, but that's not necessarily the case with you. You're just so used to working down to the last second that you don't know how to work differently.

Pretty In Pink

You're Bad With Money

You might have the best intentions, and you might even save your money every now and then. But you're late paying your credit card bill, and you're late turning in your tuition, and you definitely owe, like, five friends money and you keep telling them you'll pay them back ASAP but in reality you're just hoping that they forget about it. It goes without saying that money is incredibly important, and being late on just a few things are really hard to make up.


Which of these symptoms is incredibly familiar? Do you have any tips that help you when you’re about to fall into a procrasination spiral? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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