Procrastination is the problem of putting things off. This problem has been around for a long time. For those civilisations that lived in the past they used to use the word PROCRASTINATUS to represent this problem of putting things off. These days we use a derivation of the original Latin word we say “Procrastination”.
We all seem to procrastinate on certain things in our life, some however have developed into a art form thinking up quite elaborate excuses as to why they can’t do this task today. Some people when they are half way through a boring task (that they never have particularly liked doing) find themselves positively willing someone to ring their phone or come to the front door so that they have an excuse not to continue with the uninspiring task!
The bad thing is that procrastination can become a habit and a way of life effectively stopping us from achieving those goals that we have set ourselves in life.
Procrastination can be reason behind our failures
Time is a valuable resource because we all have been allocated only our 70 years give or take a few years. As we live our lives we find that time passes on relentlessly in a fixed rhythm: 60 seconds every minute, 60 minutes every hour. Once time has passed we can never get it back. It’s gone forever. Time is an equally shared resource. We all have 24 hours every day and seven days every week.
The 24 hours each one of us has each day is a resource that is filled with opportunities to grow in our knowledge, serve our God and be productive in his service. But as we all know to different extents, it is very easy to waste time and let life slip away.
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. Proverbs Ch.10: 4-5 NIV
This verse contrasts laziness with hard work. We should avoid being the lazy person who sleeps and wastes away the hours which were mean’t for productive work. Time is a gift from God and we should use it as an opportunity to live industriously for Him.
An unproductive lifestyle comes from procrastination
Laziness can lead into a never ending spiral to disaster. The less people do, leads to them wanting to do even lesser until they become completely useless.
The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!" As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly. Proverbs Ch.26: 13-16 NIV
If a person doesn’t want to work then they will find numerous excuses to avoid it. But we can overcome laziness if we truly want to! How do we do this?
- Each day take a few small steps toward becoming more diligent in our duties.
- To motivate ourselves, set a solid goal but make sure it is realistic.
- Work out the steps you need to take to achieve that goal.
- Then make sure you follow those steps.
- As you head towards that goal pray for persistence and strength.
- Avoid making excuses as you travel towards that goal.
Underlying problems can be revealed by procrastination
If we continue putting things off it can mean we lack discipline, are poor time managers and sometimes are disobedient to God.
So Joshua said to the Israelites: "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you? Joshua Ch.18: 3 NIV
Joshua asked the Israelites why they were putting off possessing the land. People delay things sometimes because the task is boring, difficult, seems large or is disagreeable. When we feel this way we need to seek encouragement from others, concentrate fully on the task at hand, get others to help you in a team, and always remember that you are accountable for the end result. Also procrastination can just lead you to taking twice as long to achieve the task!! When you find you are starting to procrastinate remember these points.
Overcoming procrastination in the life of a believer
If you are a believer in God then we cannot afford to procrastinate on preparing ourselves for return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must not put to tomorrow what can be done today.
For the past five years, have you been thinking about visiting the elderly at a retirement home? Don’t put it off any longer! Make arrangements to make your first visit next weekend.
Have you been looking at that study text on Revelation sitting on your book shelf, thinking how nice it would be to really find out what this book of Revelation is all about – you bought the study text eight years ago and have walked past the shelf it sits on roughly three times a day – that means you have passed that book roughly nine thousand times since you bought it – isn’t it time that you get it done off the shelf, brush off eight years worth of dust and start reading it!
It may be the thing which will help make you that acceptable sacrifice unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
The danger of procrastination – Tomorrow may never come
James talks about procrastination:
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. James Ch.4:13-14 NIV
Our life is in God’s control, we can not presume to make future plans with any certainty. It would be foolish of us to put off doing something important for God until some future date, for that date may never come. Life is like James says, a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. It is too short to put off placing yourself into the position that may make us acceptable to enter that kingdom soon to be set up on this earth. We must always remember that life is not man’s eternal possession. It is a thing that our Heavenly Father controls.
The Lord Jesus Christ illustrates this point very succinctly in the parable of the rich fool.
And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ' "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Luke Ch.12: 16 – 21 NIV
This man was a man making self-satisfied plans not only for the immediate future but also for a long comfortable retirement, and then all of a sudden at once a fatal command:
“This night thy soul shall be required of thee”.
The man in this parable thought that the division of the inheritance was essential to his life, but Jesus says that a man’s life does not consist in wealth. A man is what he is, not what he has.
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke Ch.12: 15 NIV
True wealth is tied to the relationship with God. You will truly live a fulfilled life if you know God. For it is with him that the true treasure will be found. So we shouldn’t waste what short time God has given each one of us by amassing wealth. Rather let’s use this time to amass knowledge of God’s plan for this world. For after all when a man is stripped of all the worldly wealth so that he only possesses what he had when he was born, will he be poor or rich? A day of judgement is coming where God will reveal the real poverty or wealth of a man.
Time is moving quickly past so let us not waste our lives away worrying overly about the cares of this world but rather let us use the short time we have to make ourselves ready for the return of Christ. Don’t let us fall into the trap of putting off to tomorrow what can be done today. For we may find that one day there will be no tomorrow.
Principles of good time management
So that we make every minute count in our lives here are some techniques that may help with time management:
- Change the way you think – plan to enjoy the activities you need to do.
- Control your time – reduce interruptions when you are doing a set task.
- Prepare a “to do” list and prioritise your tasks by giving them values. Give each task a value of A, B, C or D.
A – the task must be done and promptly.
B – the task should be done soon
C – the task can be delayed without any major problem.
D – the task is not necessary
4. Set yourself goals. Make sure they are attainable and have a deadline when they must be achieved. Write the goal down so that it is clear what you need to achieve. Work out the steps necessary to achieve that goal.
5. Complete the task on time. If you set yourself a goal to do it by next Friday then ensure you meet that deadline.
6. Use tools wisely. There are many tools in this modern age that can assist us to manage our time. An obvious example is a computer and the software that goes with it. Make sure you use these tools wisely.
By changing our attitude towards our work and doing it energetically unto God, we will find that tasks that once seemed boring and tiring take on a new meaning. By changing our attitude, we can learn to tackle them with enthusiasm for the sheer joy of seeing them get accomplished.
Let us change our mood and stop putting off the things we ought to be doing. Let us “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and all other things in life will fit in their proper place.