The P Word: Understanding and Overcoming ProcrastinationThoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors Thursday
Each Thursday I will take a look at common irrational thoughts, unfounded feelings, and abnormal behavior in a realistic and practical manner with a biblical solution. Today we will take a look at procrastination.
What does it mean?
procrastinate: (verb) to put off intentionally and habitually the doing of something that should be done.
A Few Facts about Procrastinators (Marano, 2003)
1. An estimate of 20% of individuals refer to themselves as procrastinators
2. It is a maladaptive behavior which manifest into one’s life by:
• Not paying bills on time
• Missing the opportunity to buy tickets to concerts and events
• Not cashing gift certificates or checks
• Filing tax returns late
• Leaving Christmas shopping to Christmas Eve
3. Lies they believe
• “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow.”
• “I work better under pressure.”
• “It’s not that important.”
• “I’m more creative.”
4. Find other meaningless distractions (i.e. like checking email, getting on facebook, twitter, etc.)
• Thoughts of Inadequacy/Self-Doubt/Wrong Beliefs
• Lack of Motivation
• Indecisive/Inability to Prioritize
In a nutshell, it really appears to be rooted in anxiety and fear. All the reasons can be interconnected in many ways, but let’s look at a few. Perfectionist wants approval and must prove their worth by being perfect. They fear that if they perform and make a mistake everyone will find out they are not perfect and will be rejected. It’s very similar for the confused. Confusion means to misunderstand and to be uncertain. The fear is that someone will know they did not understand something and doesn’t know everything. All, of which may lead to other feelings and thoughts of inadequacy and self-doubt, and make one indecisive, loose motivation, and become lazy and idle.
What must be done?
Ten ways to overcome procrastination could be listed. However, fear and anxiety must be addressed.
1. Pray, ask for what you need, and give thanks.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Philippines 4:6 NKJV
2. Trust and praise God.
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
Psalm 56:11 NIV
3. Know that your worth and value is in God’s perfect love and not your performance.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 NIV
4. Know simply God did not give you fear.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
Personal Note: I can personally say each of those factors described me in one way or another. I can also remember stating each lie while in school and even at work every now and then. When the Lord gave me the assignment to start writing, it was some time back, and it took me until now to really be obedient to the vision. When completing my thesis for graduate school, it took eight months of procrastination because of anxiety and fear of rejection to submit my work that received rave reviews. A while back I posted "Don't lose the vision by procrastinating." Right after that, I was challenged by the Holy Spirit "you would likely over-think and underestimate. If you wait, the message will become irrelevant, and/or outdated. So, let's get to work so that God will be glorified." I challenge myself now when I find myself being unproductive, by pursuing the goals and purposes that God has designed and planned for me. I also, challenge myself with "be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15, 16 NIV).
1. Marano, H.E. (2003). Procrastination: Ten things to know. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/24800