Friday, January 06, 2006


If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT

One habit that hinders personal progress is procrastination. The second week in March is designated as the official week of procrastination. So, if putting things off is a vice, one could wait until spring and the official calendar days to think about changing this negative habit.

Procrastination is defined as putting off a task until tomorrow, usually something that is dreaded. While humans constantly procrastinate, I can find no reference to God as a procrastinator, one who shuns the work at hand. The psalmist says, “As for God, his way is perfect” (18: 10).

What if God grew too lazy to send rain? Has God ever been too distracted to wake the sun? Was there ever a time when God became sidetracked by warring children and ceased to keep the stars in place? God is dependable—not a procrastinator.

People who wait until tomorrow tend to break promises to themselves and others. How many times have I said, “Tomorrow I’ll eat less, wash the car, and visit Aunt Sally.” But when dawn arrived, excuses marched in with the sun rays.

Professional coaches who help with organizing say the number one reason for avoiding a chore is that the task is dreaded. Cleaning out the horse stall, mowing the yard, balancing the checkbook—all of that work is beneficial if done timely. But delays of weeks can bring on five-star disasters. David Allen says stress doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what was started.

Most people must take care of day-to-day chores through household members. “Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.” Another witty anonymous soul said, “If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done.” But living life on the last minute hand of the clock means many frazzled moments. By now, I’ve identified several responsibilities I habitually put off. But what’s to be done about them?

The best suggestions I’ve found is to break tasks into small manageable segments, then spend 15 minutes (not last minutes) to work heartily on the project. Through seven days of fresh-morning-minutes, bit by bit, snarls and kinks are straightened. Unkempt corners are de-cluttered, and paperwork is put away. A week of hard work can equal a finished job. Snippets of time spent on put-off projects equals peace. When a long delayed chore is finished, give yourself a pat on the back. Dust off your hands and tackle another overdue job.

Laziness underwrites procrastination. Jimmy Lyons said, “Tomorrow is the only day that appeals to a lazy man.” Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins, and it is can be fatal to spiritual progress.

Attentiveness to daily tasks acknowledges God, our constant caregiver. Industry honors the Creator and keeps one in tune with the workings of his world. The God who changes seasons on time, who regulates the tides, who keeps a house in place through gravity can assist anyone with the problem of procrastination.

Don’t hesitate. Today, ask for help.

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