Procrastination kills. If you would grow to your potential, you must defeat procrastination. You must learn to manage your time and talent. Procrastination robs the world of the blessing God meant to give the world through you. It kills projects, talent, relationships, and productivity. Don’t let procrastination become a habit in your life. The procrastinators favorite hiding place is ‘someday isle.’ They always think, “Someday I’ll do this or that.” Procrastination has its roots in fear, lies, and laziness.
Some people procrastinate because they fear they will fail or not attain perfection. Perfectionists are great procrastinators.
Some people think they will have more time later. No, you won’t! Time is passing by right now. You won’t have more time to finish it, you will have less.
Some underestimate how long projects take. When I estimate how long a project will take, I give it my best guess and then double it to allow for things to go wrong and unplanned problems to appear as they most certainly will.
Some people mistakenly believe that they must ‘feel like’ doing a project before they will start. Actually, if you start a project, you will feel like doing it. The most important word in slaying this dragon is begin.
How I Beat Procrastination
Procrastination had a tight hold on my life. Sometimes it still rears its ugly head. I learned a number of things and took some concrete steps to overcome it.
First, as I grew, I kept getting burned by procrastination. Procrastination stole from me lots of money through lost financial aid, lost work, late fees, and poor last minute decisions. It also took from me opportunities to do some really cool things and get better grades due to missed deadlines and poor last minute work. I hate getting ripped off. Once I realized that procrastination took from me rather than gave to me, I made up my mind to kill it.
It took some time and mental effort to realize why I procrastinated. For me, I did it because I was lazy. I rationalized that I could do what I wanted rather than do what I needed and still get the project done Occasionally, I feared rejection and failure and that fear paralyzed me.
Second, I saw my laziness for what it was: sinful. I began to overcome it like any other sin. Since lies are the basis for every sin, I learned and memorized the truth. I found scriptures that spoke the truth about the battles going on in my mind and memorized them. Whenever my flesh wanted to be lazy, the scripture would come to my mind and I would act on the truth instead of the lie.
Key Scriptures: Proverbs 6:6, Proverbs 28:19, Ephesians 5:15-16, Proverbs 14:23
Third, I learned that discipline brings freedom. I forced myself to get ahead of projects and I became addicted to the freedom and reward accomplishment brings. The thought of the reward of accomplishment began to win over the temporary satisfaction of procrastination.
Fourth, I learned that when you start a project, even when you don’t feel like it, the feelings will follow. I learned physics: an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. When I started a project, it created a positive momentum. It then became easier to keep going rather than stop. The trick is just to start! I prayed and asked God for courage.
As I grew older, I realized three things: 1) life happens; 2) you will never have more time than you do this second; and 3) it takes me longer to do good work than I thought. Procrastination forced me to run projects right to the edge of available time. When unforeseen things happened, I lost out or turned in poor work. Proverbs says, “A prudent man sees trouble ahead and prepares for it, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (22:3)
Ultimately, my love for and desire to please my heavenly Father motivated me to manage my life to bring him the most glory. Lazy, minimum effort, and work does not do that. Get to know God and you will want to make him famous.