Procrastination is the Assassination of Motivation- Only on The Elle Scoop! :)
It has been a while since we last visited and a lot has happened since then. My last Blog Post was in January of this year; it is now October. I can truly say that much has happened in my life over the past several months and it has hindered me mightily in getting things done. However, I cannot say that procrastination has not had a part in the delay. It is interesting that this post will be dealing with procrastination. Actually, the delay in this post has changed my perspective somewhat on the topic. The scripture tells us in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” I believe my experiences over the last several months prior to completing this blog post has helped me immensely to understand the whole of the issue, procrastination, and not just my little pee brain perspective.
So, what is this thing called procrastination? A dictionary definition of the term is simple: Procrastination is the act or habit of putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines procrastination as putting off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. Another definition suggests that procrastination is to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it; because you are lazy. Lastly, another definition implies that one procrastinates intentionally and out of habit. These definitions imply that people who procrastinate are deliberate and intentional in putting off doing what needs to be done. I wonder if it is that simple. No, I won’t be psychoanalyzing the practice or phenomenon of procrastination but I do want to offer some understanding and perspective of the concept; and hopefully offer some help to push us past devastating procrastination habits. Yes, it will be based on my reality but the hope is that the discussion will be useful and helpful in pushing us forward out of the rut of procrastination so that we can be productive and fruitful citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Proverbs 13:4 states, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” This scripture reflects strongly that inactivity, doing nothing is detrimental. A sluggard is someone who is prone to inactivity; someone who is lazy; someone who procrastinates. Scriptures bear out throughout the Bible the detriment of procrastinating; the negative results that occur when you put off for tomorrow what can and should be done today. Even our souls lie in the balance of procrastination when we do not do what is necessary for our salvation when we need to. Procrastination is very dangerous and destructive.
I must ask the question, are you a procrastinator? If we are all truthful we would respond “I procrastinate sometimes”, however there are some who have the habit or spirit of procrastination. Either category you fall into is dangerous, but the spirit of procrastination can destroy dreams and kill the human spirit. Prior to May of this year, I did not consider myself a procrastinator at all but then I experienced several life incidents including illness that have caused me to put many things off, over and over again including writing this Blog. It is amazing at how life happens and creates stagnation and apathy where there was once excitement, desire, and action. I’ve evaluated this in my life over and over again over the last several months and have determined that some of it is plain old getting behind and trying to catch up; but much of it is also emotional and psychological. Now, I am not trying to make excuses for not getting things done. It has been frustrating to say the least. This frustration often perpetuates the problem, bogging one down even more in the rut of discuss over not getting things done. It impedes the motivation factor that is necessary to propel one forward.
Someone who practices procrastination or has the habit/spirit of procrastination is reflected in the definition of the sluggard referenced earlier and is also described in Proverbs 12:24: “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.” The habitual procrastinator finds it challenging to be productive. They often do not set goals for themselves and when they do, they are not fulfilled. Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University states, “Procrastinators are also neurotically disorganized in their thinking, making them forgetful and less likely to plan well.” Some of the reasons given for why people procrastinate include fear, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, being disorganized; and also feeling negative beliefs about one’s capability. Again, I do not want to psychoanalyze this problem but understanding what it is and how it exist in you is important. There are several resources available where you can get more information. Here are a few: Academia Edu, What Type of Procrastinator are You?, Faculty Focus, The Sluggard, and Advanced Life Skills.
Although I have distinguished between people who procrastinate every now and then from those who habitually procrastinates, I want to address both groups with the remaining comments. Procrastination is destructive whether you live in that spirit and allow it to overtake you due to circumstances in your life or routinely fall in to a procrastination mode. It doesn’t matter what category you fall in you must understand that procrastination assassinates motivation thus killing hope, dreams, goals and promises. I truly believe that procrastination is a spirit that we need to be delivered from; that we need spiritual help and support in overcoming this spirit. I believe we need the hand and power of God to help us through. I know I needed it. For example, I had been praying and hoping to get this Blog done months ago, but I kept putting it off for a number of reasons and not just because things were going on in my life that were stressful and crazy. The more time went on and the more I delayed starting the blog, the worst I felt about the whole situation and the guiltier I became; but, I continued to pray and believe that God was helping me. It was a little text message that catapulted me forward to start writing again. I know that text message was God’s Divine intervention to stir me out of the “procrastination funk”. It helped me to know that someone had not given up on me and moved on; it helped me to overcome the guilt from not acting sooner.
I am not trying to oversimplify the road to overcoming the habit/spirit of procrastination, but I am hoping that my readers will grasp the fact that procrastination is a spiritual issue as well as a habitual behavior that often requires spiritual intervention. To get through life successfully and to make our spiritual journey, we must have the power of motivation fueling our desire to continue. It is the enemy’s job to discourage and prevent success and to kill hope. If he can overtake you with the spirit of procrastination the spiral of discouragement begins and brings stagnation in your life that is smothering. Ephesians 5: 15-17 says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord’s is.” This scripture is a direct instruction to not procrastinate and a warning about how dangerous it is. To begin the journey of overcoming the spirit of procrastination we must pray and ask God to help us overcome; to direct our path in the journey of deliverance. The remainder of this Blog will provide you with some practical and spiritual direction for getting rid of the procrastination destroyer and garner the spirit of motivation and encouragement.
First, to have a good chance of conquering procrastination, you need to identify that you’re doing it and openly confess this problem to the Lord. Acknowledging our faults is a big part of the battle. (Read 1 John 1:8) Then you need to be encouraged that you can be successful. We know that in Christ we can do all things. (Philippians 4:13). Here are a few more steps to help you move forward and away from procrastination:
- Start with something easy. Do not take on a task or project that is going to be challenging, hard, or a lot of work.
- Start anywhere. Don’t get tied up in trying to figure out what is easy and just allow yourself to land in the right place with God’s help.
- Stay away from excuses. (Romans 2:1) Here are a few excuses that are common:
- Not feeling in the mood to do it.
- Believing that you work better under pressure.
- Thinking that you can finish it at the last minute.
- Blaming sickness or poor health.
- Waiting for the right moment.The key is recognizing they are excuses.
- You must increase the value of completing the tasks. The more value, the more motivation.
- You must think concrete to overcome procrastination. When you are getting started on a task, it’s much better to think about the concrete steps you are going to take, rather than abstract aims and ideas. Thinking concrete helps you get started.
- Write down the things you need to get accomplished. Do not rely on memory. You may get to a point in the distant future when you can depend on your memory to get things done, but it takes practice and becoming more aligned with acting and not procrastinating.
- Do not over think; do not doubt. Doubt will kill your motivation and create the atmosphere for procrastination. The scripture tell us that doubt is fear; doubt is unbelief.
- Forgive yourself. When you forgive yourself for procrastinating you actually release yourself to feel better about the task at hand.
It is clear that overcoming procrastination will be a daily challenge. However, it is a challenge that can be overcome. With Jesus’ help, perseverance and stamina, you can do all things and you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. I pray that you and I both are able to go forth and CONQUER procrastination.
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