Second-hand Procrastination: How Your Procrastination May Harm Others

The social consequences of procrastination

Posted Mar 15, 2009

With the fatigue of all-nighters, the stress of those last-minute efforts and perhaps the inferior result of not enough time spent on task, it might appear that procrastination only harms the procrastinator. The truth is, when the procrastinator finishes his binge of work, social devastation lays all about.

In the name of "working better under pressure," too often social engagements are canceled, promises are broken, and favors called in to have others problem solve last-minute catastrophes (a jammed printer becomes a national emergency). Anyone within the vicinity suffers the intense pressure of the looming deadline. Procrastination harms relationships at home and at work.

Procrastination, the mundane yet quintessential self-regulation problem, undermines relationships. Just as the failure of self-regulation related to substance abuse, excessive shopping, gambling or over-eating does, procrastination has social consequences.

The irony is that procrastinators may feel smug relief on making the deadline once again at the eleventh hour, while those close to them are frustrated and fed up. Second-hand procrastination - the stressful effects of living or working with a procrastinator can strain relationships to their breaking point.