By Marc Rademaker
Procrastination. Even the word itself sounds nasty. It’s something we know we do, and we try to avoid admitting that. It is the silent killer of productivity and is a habit that is tough to break. I can tell you that I am one of the biggest participants in this harm that masks itself as happiness. Even in the process of writing this article, I fell into this habit and used all of what I will call my “4 Common Excuses” for why I procrastinate – and I think that many of us find the same reasons for putting things off.
Number 1: I’ll Do It Later
Will you? Using this excuse can prove to be very dangerous and could drift into sloth/laziness territory. Essentially, by saying “I’ll do it later,” I am telling God or whoever I am doing the task for that the work it would take to complete that task is less of a priority than my own comfort. Basically, my needs are prioritized over those of others.
Number 2: But First, I Need to Do _______
Sometimes there are things that must be prioritized over the task that I am completing. However, more often than not, I know those other things can be left for later after the more important things are done. I find that whenever I try to complete something that I know is important, Satan takes the opportunity to present me with numerous other things that would be easier and more enjoyable. He disguises them well as activities that may be of benefit to my mind and body but that are not as important in the current moment as the task at hand.
Number 3: One More Episode
I know that every time I use this excuse, it never means just one more episode. And unless I’m watching a Superior Disciple podcast, I’m probably not getting any benefit from this excuse, either.
Number 4: I’m Waiting for the Right Time to Do It
As with Number 2, this justification may be true at times, but it is more common for it to simply be an excuse. If there is time to procrastinate, there is very likely time to complete the thing looming over my head. And until that thing is finished, it will continue to loom and will make the desire to escape its reality even greater. So, just do it.
For whatever reason we procrastinate, it can be a struggle that is much worse than how it initially presents itself. We know God has plans for us and wants us to be driven to excellence in whatever we do, and procrastination is the antagonist of excellence. We also know that God does not leave us alone in this struggle and that we can be equipped to battle the temptation to procrastinate. But how?
- Identify your common excuses (they may be similar to the four I present here).
- Break up tasks into smaller pieces that are more easily achieved.
- Budget your day into work and play, with a good balance of both.
- Most importantly, anticipate…
While procrastination is a beast to overcome and one that I myself am still working to combat, it does not need to be the ruler of what you accomplish. Anticipate that you will be tempted to procrastinate, and use that knowledge as power to overcome it. We all know the weight of procrastination at one time or another, so become motivated through friendships and a shared drive for excellence with others. God is here, ready to help and to lead us. Through little steps, big things can happen that will move excellence from later to now.