"Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow." Gerald Vaughan
Most people will procrastinate at some point. Maybe we have a few important phone calls to make, the car needs its oil changed or perhaps you haven't gone to visit your doctor in a while. In themselves, these can sometimes seem like small things. Putting them off, though, can sometimes lead to big consequences. How so? Not changing the car's oil on time could lead to costlier engine repair bills later on. Those phone calls you missed might have been that sale you were looking for. That visit to the doctor could have alerted you to the fact that your cholesterol has risen to unhealthy levels. Procrastination sometimes comes at a high price.
Did you know experts say procrastination can lead to illness? A study mentioned in the Vancouver Sun newspaper stated: "As presented at a recent conference of the American Psychological Society held in Toronto, Canada, a study of 200 Canadian university students found that procrastinators put themselves under so much pressure by delaying action that they suffered more stress-related illness than others. With the exam date looming, stress levels among procrastinators soared. Their happy-go-lucky attitudes were replaced with higher rates of headaches, back pain, colds, sleeping problems and allergies. They suffered more respiratory problems, infections and migraines."
We can see from this excerpt that procrastinating can have some bad repercussions. Let's look at some reasons why people fall into this trap.
Do you know anyone who isn't busy? It seems we all have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Let me share a personal example. We work closely with a company that helps to draw and engineer some of our projects. We have one piece of machinery that is necessary to make the design firm job easier — not to mention just keeping the shop running more smoothly — and it needs repairing. I just couldn't seem to make the appointment for the technician to come and fix it. Why not? Something else always seemed to get in the way. There always seems to be something more pressing to get done. The fact is, there is never really a good time in a busy shop to have someone come in and fix equipment, but it has to be done. Was I really too busy or just procrastinating? I was spending time justifying my reasons for waiting instead of spending the time to have the machine fixed.
Consider a few bad habits you might find yourself indulging in. You may find you actually like to wait until the last minute. You enjoy the excitement of having to work in crisis conditions. You feel it is just your style to work under pressure; in fact, you think this is when you do your best work. Think again.
This can be a really dangerous habit. When you are working under time constraints, even self-imposed ones, chances are your work will become sloppier. Mistakes are more likely to happen when everyone is rushing and there will be less time to fix them. There is no time to double check things. Are your profit margins so big that you can afford a lot of mistakes that might have been prevented if you hadn't procrastinated?