Procrastination can be costly, especially when you are procrastinating in dealing with a problem that is costing you time, health, money, success, or your relationship with God and your eternal salvation.
You can defeat procrastination and lean into a more prosperous life emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually, in whatever way you define it, by taking the following 10 steps.
1. Recognizing your problem is the first step to solving it. So, go ahead. Admit it. Admit you procrastinate. Take a sheet of paper and make three columns. Identify how, how often, and why you procrastinate. Don't judge yourself. Just be honest with yourself. Once you've identified your procrastination problem, you're on your way to solving it.
2. Renew your thinking and revise your self-talk. When you are planning your day, and throughout your day, monitor the way you label things to do. Do you have any "should do's" or "getting it just right's" that prevent you from getting things done? When they rise up, recognize them and put them in perspective. Replace those thoughts with positive thoughts that move you forward with a "can-do" attitude.
3. Face the fear of failure. Wipe away worry. Consider how many times you have put off doing something because you were afraid you would fail, or worried about what might happen. Yes, there are projects in your life, in your job and career, that demand preparation and effort. Instead of concentrating of what might happen if you fail, and focusing on negative consequences, be laser focused on the task at hand, anticipating success.
4. Replay the purpose. Picture the prize. Revisit your planning and your to-do list if you created one, and recall why you want to complete the task, finish the project in the first place. Take a sheet of paper and create a mini-mission statement. Include the benefits of succeeding. Revisit the statement and let your imagination go to work, picturing yourself in the proverbial "winner's circle." Get energized!
5. Execute excuses. The next time you put off doing something you know you should do, write down the excuses infiltrating your thinking. Here's a hint. The excuses will usually begin with the pronoun "I." Looking at your to-do list, watch for an excuse attack. "I can do __________this next week." "I should do ___________ when I have more time." "I don't feel like like doing __________ this right now." You fill in the blanks.
6. Make molehills out of mountains. One of the reasons people procrastinate is the tendency to stand at the face of a mountain of a project and cower at the size of what needs done. Instead of staring at a project that seems overbearing, cut that mountain down to the size of a molehill you can handle by dividing it into smaller, more manageable tasks.
7. Make yourself accountable. One of the best ways to ensure you will move forward past the tendency to procrastinate is to hold yourself accountable, setting a deadline to accomplish a task. Find someone you trust who can be neutral and objective to hold you accountable. The person you choose can also act as a cheerleader. Don't forget to reward yourself for a job well done.
8. Set the stage for success. Identify the things at home or at the office that contribute to your tendency to procrastinate and clear the stage. Beware of the "great interrupters," e-mail, social media, and yes, even the TV. There's nothing like your favorite TV show or movie to put the brakes on your progress. And don't forget the other kind of interrupters, people.
9. Cut yourself some slack. Breaking the habit of procrastination doesn't happen over night, especially if you are a hardcore procrastinator. Even if you follow all the steps outlined above, you will occasionally procrastinate. When you stumble, pick yourself up and move on.
10. Rely upon the Lord. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." (Ephesians 6:10-18) It could be, the devil makes you do it. Start today to defeat procrastination and begin leading a more prosperous life emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually.
In God's Words
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
In the Words of Others
"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday." Napoleon Hill
"Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy." Wayne Gretzky
In Your Words
If you are a problem procrastinator, how has it negatively affected you emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually?
When you do procrastinate, what is your reaction? Do you get down on yourself or do you commit to making changes? If the latter, how successful have you been?
Do fear or worry place a role in your tendency to procrastinate? If yes, cite examples and what you could have done differently.
Meditate on James 4:13-15 and how it applies to procrastination and the importance of acting and not delaying, since we are all "a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
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