Having Unfinished Business Negatively Affects You

We all have challenges on the horizon. However, are you one of those people who consistently puts them off? If so, you need to know that you could significantly improve your life by following certain steps. Learn about them here.
Having Unfinished Business Negatively Affects You

Last update: 10 December, 2021

Some people are more adept at organizing or are more concerned with planning for the future. Surely you know someone who carries their agenda everywhere, controls how they spend their time, and always tries to leave themselves a margin of error in case the unforeseen should happen. For example, they leave five minutes before they need to in case they meet someone on the way and want to stop for a brief conversation.

This attitude has many advantages. Perhaps you feel you’d like to be able to behave in this way but you can’t figure out how to do it. Maybe you’re one of those who seems to gravitate toward chaos, improvisation, and disorganization. This is a way of being that does you no good at all, no matter how much you may try and convince yourself otherwise.

As a matter of fact, as a rule, you don’t tend to realize that not having plans can cause you to lose many opportunities. In fact, you cling to ideas such as freedom, spontaneity, or enjoyment to justify your neglect, without noticing that you’re actually weighted down by these attitudes.

What unfinished business are you accumulating?

There are often certain types of tasks or responsibilities that you might choose to avoid or put off. For example, maybe you choose to leave your school or work obligations until the last minute.

Alternatively, perhaps you make promises that later you decide not to fulfill, no matter how much time passes. Or, you might evade your feelings and try to avoid difficult conversations, leaving your social relationships at a standstill for weeks or months.

Maybe there are only certain tasks you put off. Sometimes personal characteristics, such as perfectionism, insecurity, high self-demand or lack of motivation form the basis of this kind of behavior. However, they have particular effects in different areas of your life. Let’s take a look at them.

Girl procrastinating

How does having unfinished business affect you?

As time goes by, you might expect your unfinished business to disappear, but it doesn’t. On the contrary, its resolution becomes more and more pressing and the consequences start to accumulate. Among them, are the following:

Feelings of guilt and failure

With so many pending tasks on the horizon, you may well feel guilty and unproductive. If the situation continues for a while, your self-esteem and self-concept can also be affected. This means you may start to consider yourself to be an irresponsible and unsuccessful person.

After all, meeting your goals and objectives increases your confidence in yourself and emotionally prepares you to face greater challenges.

Mental burden and excessive stress

Much of your energy is spent remembering, planning, and organizing, rather than doing. Thus, the more unfinished business you drag around with you, the more saturated your mind becomes. This can generate high levels of stress and even harm your health.

As each day passes, you feel more overloaded. In fact, new tasks will be added to those that you’ve been postponing and it’ll become increasingly difficult for you to manage them all at a mental level.

Impossibility of enjoying the present

You might tend to think that having unfinished business gives you more time for leisure and enjoyment. After all, if you avoid certain obligations and situations that bother you, you feel able to dedicate your time to other, more enjoyable, activities. Nevertheless, paradoxically, if you don’t take care of what’s waiting to be taken care of, it’ll be extremely difficult for you to really involve yourself in other things.

For example, you’ll try and focus on a chapter of your favorite series, have a pleasant conversation with a friend, or go for a nature walk. However, you’ll constantly be reminding yourself of what you still need to do. Therefore, you’ll be doubly sabotaging yourself because you’re neither attending to your unfinished business nor enjoying yourself.

Tendency to continue procrastinating

One of the most striking aspects regarding this issue is that your tendency to procrastinate tends to feed back into itself. Indeed, the more you avoid unfinished business, the more pressure there is on you to attend to it quickly. This same anxiety overwhelms you and leads you to opt for any other more satisfying activity in the short term. However, in this way, your problem becomes greater and greater.

Dizzy man in front of a computer

Sorting out your unfinished business is liberating

Have you identified with any of the above? If so, it might be time to make some changes. In fact, you probably need to reverse your tendency to ignore your unfinished business. First of all, you must become aware of the negative repercussions it’s having on you. That’ll give you the motivation to change.

Start to organize your time in such a way that you leave time for each activity that you have to take care of. Save some time for fun. Stick to your plans and ensure that you meet the objectives you’ve set for yourself. Don’t avoid them. If you’ve committed to someone (or yourself) to accomplish a task, take responsibility for it.

You may have to work on certain aspects such as your self-esteem, perfectionism, or fear of conflict that encourage you not to take care of any unfinished business. Professional help can often be extremely useful in this regard.

Remember that modifying a deeply ingrained habit takes time. Therefore, take one step at a time, celebrating and congratulating yourself on every advance. Over time, it’ll become your new way of acting and your burdens will weigh less and less.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Galarregui, M., Arana, F., & Partarrieu, A. (2011). Procrastinación académica y su relación con Perfeccionismo. In III Congreso Internacional de Investigación y Práctica Profesional en Psicología XVIII Jornadas de Investigación Séptimo Encuentro de Investigadores en Psicología del MERCOSUR. Facultad de Psicología-Universidad de Buenos Aires.
  • Steel, P. (2017). Procrastinación: Por qué dejamos para mañana lo que podemos hacer hoy. DEBOLS! LLO.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.