My name is Cleve. And I’m a procrastinator.
I define procrastination as “intentionally putting off until later that which should be done now.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not “lazy.” I get the work done. But I almost always make the work a lot more stressful than it had to be. (Full disclosure: I am writing this article ON THE DAY IT’S DUE.) Why do I put off until tomorrow what could have been done days ago? It’s not
intentional. I’m not trying to devalue the task. I simply struggle with (and from) procrastination, and I bet many of you do, too. I am writing TO MYSELF, but you are welcome to glean insight from a suffering (recovering?!?) procrastinator. Here are three ideas that will help me (and you) overcome the pitfall of procrastination this year:
Diagnose Our Problem
Though we may still meet a deadline, procrastination carries serious consequences. The effects are obvious at times, like causing undue stress on ourselves, which is often taken out on loved ones. But perhaps the more damaging effects are those that go unrealized. When forced to rush our work, we sacrifice excellence. Our abilities may be superior to others’ abilities, but procrastination lowers our standards of excellence for which we should strive in all we do. Colossians 3:23-24 calls us to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Procrastination prevents us from fulfilling this New Testament
Define Our Purpose and Prioritize
We’re all busy, but we only have twenty-four hours in each day. Perhaps our tendency to procrastinate results from losing sight of the purpose(s) for which we labor. Our purpose drives our priorities. Each day, we ought to consider WHY we do what we do: Our WHY should determine our WHAT. When we keep the purpose in mind, we are less likely to waste time pursuing matters of lesser importance. Then, as we complete the greater tasks sooner, in the long run we actually find more time to pursue other ventures that don’t rank as highly on the priority list. Prioritizing is essentially planning an agenda. Plan a
year once a year. Plan a month once a month. Plan a day once a day. Then allow that list to govern your efforts.
Devote Ourselves to Prayer
Though this is listed last, it ought to be first. I place prayer last because, if you’re like me, prayer often becomes a last resort rather than a first priority. Prayer is our means of communicating with our LORD. He cares for us. He desires for us to bring our burdens and petitions before Him, just like a young child would with his mother or father. A regular prayer life allows our mind to regularly be focused on the things of God. A scarce prayer life, likewise, causes us to scarcely be focused on the things of God. My prayer life reminds me of my purpose(s) and helps me to prioritize my time in a way that honors my Heavenly Father.
In this new year, let’s eliminate the excuses we use for why we procrastinate on the tasks that matter most. Stop delaying in our obedience to Christ. Stop creating undue stresses in our lives (there is enough stress already). Whatever we do, let’s strive for excellence as is working “for the LORD and not for men.”