One of my favorite quotes in the world of productivity is definitely “Procrastination Is The Thief Of Time“
Whether mindlessly scrolling through social media, playing video games, or binge-watching TV to avoid responsibility, procrastination can ruin your life and keep you away from achieving your dreams.
But procrastination is also one of the best ways to waste valuable time.
Funny thing? Over 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators, so it’s a common problem worldwide.
If you are also in this situation, this article will help you understand how you are wasting your time procrastinating and how to stop doing it.
What does it mean “procrastination the thief of time?”
Let’s keep it simple: when you put off important tasks, or you do unimportant things ( like watching TV or lazing around), procrastination is robbing your time.
You could use this precious time to complete an important project, work out, meditate, or read a book.
Every time people procrastinate, they’re getting further away from their goals.
And they usually justify themselves by saying, ” I’m too busy! I don’t have enough time!”.
This is why procrastination is called a thief, and you should stop procrastinating as soon as possible!
Examples of procrastination as the thief of time
We usually waste 55 days per year postponing tasks and not doing what we are supposed to do.
The dangers of procrastination are often underestimated, mainly because they can take various forms.
Let’s make some examples to make it clearer.
- Postponing important tasks: When you put off taking action on a dearly desired goal or project, it often wastes time due to a lack of progress. The longer you delay a task completion, the less likely you will ever accomplish those goals.
In this case, procrastination leads to a lack of motivation and insecurities, as you feel you can’t accomplish anything.
- Chasing distractions: When we face an intimidating task or we need to stay focused for an extended period, we choose instead to indulge our desires for instant gratification by pursuing frivolous entertainment options like surfing the web or playing video games.
Of course, I’m not saying you need to work 24/7, but you should take some leisure moments and not constantly distract yourself while working.
- Multitasking: I know, multitasking is considered a skill, but if you procrastinate consistently daily, it can be dangerous.
By signing up for too many duties and obligations at once, you may be unable to complete them all on time. As a result, you could face emotional issues, like anxiety or lack of motivation. In this case, procrastination can lead to more and more procrastination.
How does procrastination affect your time management?
Procrastination has a massive impact on how well we manage our time.
When we procrastinate, it steals away valuable moments we could use to get closer to our goals.
For instance, let’s say I want to write ten blog articles by the end of the month.
If every time I sit down in front of my PC and, instead of creating content, I end up surfing the web, checking my emails, and stuff like that, I can’t get my goal.
Maybe I’ll write 5 blog articles, and they will become 60 per year instead of 120.
And what will happen to me? I’ll experience negative emotions, I’ll feel guilty and bad and to console myself, I will think that I need to unwind, going back to doing those activities that took me away from my goal.
This is the correlation between procrastination and time management: you think you don’t have time, but you’re just wasting it!
Suggested reading: how does procrastination affect your time management
Impact on relationships and productivity
Since you’re procrastinating, you have less time for your important tasks.
And, of course, as in the example above, you have much less time.
The stress that procrastinators is associated with a wide range of negative behaviors such as anger, blame-shifting, avoidance, and prioritizing minor tasks over major ones.
Moreover, your friends and colleagues will begin to consider you an unreliable person.
Origin and quotes of ” Procrastination is the Thief of Time”
The phrase “procrastination is the thief of time’ comes from Night Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality by the English poet Edward Young.
It has been used for at least 250 years and can be traced back to the English poet Edward Young’s poem Night-Thoughts (1742). In it, he musingly ponders how immortal beings might still manage their affairs if they had as much time on hand as humans do.
But given our limited lifespan, Young urges us not to squander this opportunity or to let procrastination creep in:
“Procrastination is the thief of time: Year after year it steals, till all are fled, And to the mercies of a moment leaves The vast concerns of an eternal scene
This famous quote comes from Young’s long poem and it serves as a reminder that procrastinating now can have dire consequences later on, leading to missed opportunities and wasted energy.
Here are some great procrastination quotes related to time management.
“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it”
“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today” —Thomas Jefferson, American president
“The perils of Procrastination are grave: For who can number those their souls betrayed? Who e’er espoused its cause corrected remained; Its empire short, but wide extended reign’d”— James Thomson another 18th century bard
How to defeat procrastination
Defeating procrastination is not an impossible goal.
For example, I have improved a lot, but obviously, it requires commitment and willpower.
To help you achieve this goal more quickly, here is a list of actions you can practice immediately.
Understand what type of procrastinator you are
Procrastination is associated with various behaviors, but in reality, they can be very different depending on the type of procrastinator.
For example, I’m a perfectionist, and I’ve different behaviors than a worrier or a dreamer.
The first thing you need to do is analyze your habits and understand which type you are.
Find your root causes
Usually, there are common reasons for procrastinating, but they are very different from each other.
Some examples? Low self-esteem, distraction, lack of discipline, and the fear of failure, to name a few.
In my experience, I think the most important thing, is ignoring the consequences of procrastination and its impact on the most precious thing we have: time.
The real problem is that we often realize it too late. Maybe we get to a certain age with many regrets caused by this problem.
But it’s never too late to defeat procrastination and laziness; that’s why you should start now.
Develop accountability and use procrastination apps
When you start to develop accountability, you realize that you are the architect of your own destiny.
You are responsible for your actions and only you can achieve your goals: no one else will do it for you.
To help you fight procrastination, you can help yourself with specific apps, which will help keep you focused and away from constant distractions.
Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals can be an effective way to stop procrastination and improve productivity.
It is a goal-setting technique that outlines and achieves specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.
This helps create focus and organize the process according to individual needs and demands.
Your goal must be
- Specific: very clearly defined so that no other interpretation or goals exist
- Measurable: make use of metrics to measure progress towards the goal
- Achievable: realistic for the person setting it making sure you can achieve it
- Relevant: tailored and aligns with overall life purpose or pursuits
- Time-based: define a timeline around when you want the goal achieved to create urgency
Procrastination is a thief of time in every sense.
It takes away our chances to do what we need to when we need it most.
If you procrastinate in a consistent and problematic manner, you can miss valuable opportunities and never be able to reach your goals.
Ultimately, procrastination has severe consequences in both the short-term and the long-term for relationships and productivity.
However, you can beat it.
But you need to take small steps to overcome procrastination, such as understanding why you’re doing that and creating SMART goals and to-do lists to ease the process.
Ready to do it?