PROCRASTINATION

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Preventing the Decay of Delay

Do you tend to miss deadlines, appointments, and opportunities?

Do you frustrate the efforts of others who depend on you to do your part in a timely manner?

Perhaps the “decay of delay” has adversely affected your life and relationships. If you’re plagued with procrastination, you can change with God’s help. In these Women of Faith resources, discover how to rearrange your priorities and complete tasks on time, replace the pandemonium in your life with good time management, time valuement, and defeat time-stealing procrastination to become a more dependable, productive person.

Late again! . . . 

How did this happen? . . . 

Why didn’t I start earlier? . . . 

What is the matter with me? 

The deadline has come and gone, and here I am again . . . feeling guilty, frustrated, and defeated. "How can I get myself out of this pressure cooker and enjoy completing a task—and, yes, even complete it on time!”

Procrastination is a thief, continually robbing me of those wonderfully rewarding words, “Job well done!” Of course, others are continually robbed of receiving my work on time. Procrastination has stolen my confidence, my integrity, and my peace. Now, the cry of my heart is, “Lord, please show me how to prevent this destructive decay of delay. Oh, Master, teach me how to faithfully manage my time!” 

 “Is there a difference between procrastination and laziness?”

Many people assume that procrastinators are always lazy; however, laziness is just one of the causes of procrastination. If you are lazy, you are negligent in handling your responsibilities because of your not choosing to do what you need to do. On the other hand, you may be highly productive and in no way lazy, and still procrastinate by simply failing to start a task on time. One procrastinator has the desire to work and yet delays—the other lacks the desire to work and then refuses.

Late again! . . . How did this happen? . . . Why didn’t I start earlier? . . . What is the matter with me?

The deadline has come and gone, but here I am again . . . feeling guilty, frustrated, and defeated. How can I get myself out of this pressure cooker and enjoy completing a task—and, yes, even complete it on time!”

Procrastination is a thief, continually robbing me of those wonderfully rewarding words, “Job well done!” Of course, others are continually robbed of receiving my work on time. Procrastination has stolen my confidence, my integrity, and my peace. Now, the cry of my heart is, “Lord, please show me how to prevent this destructive decay of delay. Oh, Master, teach me how to faithfully manage my time!”

“Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.”

Luke 12:42-43

The Procrastinator’s Excuses 

  • “I’m not ready to begin right now.” 
  • “I’ll work better if I finish this other stuff first.” 
  • “I must wait until I’m truly inspired.” 
  • “I’ll do a better job when I feel up to the task.”
  • “It’s too late in the week to start.” 
  • • “I need a larger block of time.” 
  • • “I don’t have enough information yet.” 
  • • “If I wait, I’ll do a first-class job!” 
  • • “I’ve already done some of it. I’ll finish it later.” 
  • • “I still have time.” 
  • • “I’ve really been working hard. I deserve a break.” 
  • • “I can always stay up all night and finish it then.” 

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

(Proverbs 14:12)

 

10 Steps to Preventing the Decay of Delay 

  1. Acknowledge that procrastination smothers all sense of motivation. (Proverbs 21:25) 

2. Tell God that you are tired of fighting the clock. Pray for wisdom and help in using the time He has given you. (Ecclesiastes 8:6) 

3. Keep a record at all times, tracking everything you need to do and checking off each task with the exact day and time you complete it. (Ecclesiastes 3:17) 

4. Refuse to “major on the minors” but keep the “main thing” the “main thing” by prioritizing each day the five most important tasks to be done. Then do them in that order. (Proverbs 28:19)

5. Estimate the time needed to complete each project— be realistic. Then add additional time for unexpected interruptions, reviews, and delays. (Luke 14:28–29) 

6. Resist the temptation to feel guilty if an unforeseen situation arises making it impossible for you to complete all your tasks in one day. Continue to persevere the next day. (Hebrews 10:35–36) 

7. Consider the impact of your negative self-talk when you get emotionally stuck. Change your thoughts and internal dialogue to reflect God’s truth about you and to please God. (Psalm 19:14) 

8. Ask a friend or someone wise to help you if you struggle with getting started. (Proverbs 12:15) 

9. Yield your life to Christ, giving Him total control. (Galatians 2:20)

10. Claim God’s promise to provide everything you need through your dependence on Christ. (2 Peter 1:3–4) 

Checklist for Possible Procrastinators 

  • Do you delay starting projects? 
  • Do you collect materials for projects but struggle to move forward? 
  • Do you hinder the efforts of others by delaying your part? 
  • Do you deliberately work slowly or inefficiently? 
  • Do you resent suggestions on how to be more productive? 
  • Do you avoid competition and other situations where you might not succeed? 
  • Do you act indecisively and force others to make decisions? 
  • Do you shirk responsibility by focusing on the faults of others? 
  • Do you dodge making or keeping commitments? 
  • Do you become irritable when asked to do something unpleasant? 
  • Do you find yourself consistently late for appointments? 
  • Do you neglect obligations by supposedly “forgetting” them? 
  • Do you fail to return phone calls? 
  • Do you postpone sending correspondence until it is too late? 
  • Do you live in a state of disorganization? 
  • Do you become addicted to time-wasting activities (for example, TV, shopping, computer games, social media)? 
  • Do you feel “spiritually bankrupt,” yet reject the Bible’s riches? 
  • Do you desperately need direction, yet fail to pray for God’s guidance? 
  • Do you resist God’s correction by rejecting His conviction?

 

How to Be the Motivator for a Procrastinator 

  • Pray for the procrastinator. (1 Samuel 12:23) 
  • Propose an accountability plan. (Proverbs 27:17) 
  • Note the unmet needs. Sometimes procrastination is a result of trying to fulfill unmet needs. (Psalm 57:2 ESV) 
  • Encourage the use of a daily calendar. (Proverbs 15:32) 
  • Properly order your priorities. (Proverbs 13:19) 
  • Group similar goals. Make separate lists for your calls, correspondence, errands, and chores. Then set aside at least one hour of each day on your calendar to do the most important tasks on each list. (Ecclesiastes 3:17) 
  • Limit the number of options. Fewer choices mean faster decisions, and fewer choices also mean less second guessing. (Proverbs 4:25, 27) 
  • Compliment small accomplishments. (Proverbs 25:11) 
  • Use the sandwich method to confront failure (the bread of praise, the meat of the matter, and the bread of encouragement). (Proverbs 15:23) 
  • Establish and maintain boundaries. (Ecclesiastes 5:5) 
  • Set flexible, alterable arrangements. (Romans 14:19) 
  • Acknowledge your own mistakes. (2 Corinthians 11:29–30) 
  • Avoid being manipulated into accepting another’s responsibility. (Galatians 6:5) 
  • Present the ultimate purpose. God’s purpose for every Christian is to be conformed to the character of Christ! (Romans 8:29)

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:9–10)

Key Verses to Learn 

For the Procrastinator 

“Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” 

(Ephesians 5:15–16) 

For the Motivator 

“Let us consider how we may spur [motivate] one another on toward love and good deeds.” 

(Hebrews 10:24) 

 

Key Passages to Read 

For the Procrastinator 

Proverbs 24:30–34 

For the Motivator 

John 13:1–16:11

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