“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
Edward Young, 18th Century English Poet and Playwright
People delay completing tasks and assignments, put off reaching for a goal, and postpone facing the challenge of new opportunities. When this is a serious problem, you can call it “the tomorrow syndrome.” This can have serious consequences to our happiness and relationships with others.
Here are some principles that may help you overcome your own tendency to procrastinate without driving yourself crazy with striving for perfection.
Face the anxiety. The desire to reduce anxiety is often at the root of procrastination. Accept and challenge the anxiety, rather than taking the path of least resistance by avoiding it.
“so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6
Act, don’t talk. Action can help you overcome your anxieties. Taking action often can be done before you overthink and over-prepare for a project which can delay you. Talking too much about a goal sometimes can hinder you from actually doing it. You can get addicted to the “dream” but secretly fear the reality.
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25
Take a task-oriented approach. Often people are time-focused, thinking about when they will do something. Instead, make the goal the completion of a particular task. For example, instead of planning to read that long desired book like “Atlas Shrugged” for one hour each day, plan to read until you complete simply one or two chapters at a time.
“for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation'” II Cor. 6:2
Next Week we will continue with Seeking Balance on Overcoming Procrastination.