Procrastination: No Excuses Left

John 17:4 (ESV) “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work you gave me to do.”

It just plain made me mad. I have a difficult time getting things done on time, so the old definition of procrastination gave me enough trouble. This week, I learned a new one – and it did not make my life easier.

According to my Mother, I rank right up there with Scarlet O’Hara, who said in Gone with the Wind, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” That’s what procrastinators do. They put off thinking about work that they don’t want to do. They put off the work repeatedly until whatever it is sinks into that foggy mire of “I’ll get around to it one of these days.”

My Mother tries to help me. “Lynnda,” she says, “did you ________?” (Fill in the blank with whatever I’m feeling guilty about not accomplishing that day.) My standard answer – that she can almost say with me is, “No, Mother, I was too busy to ________.” (I thought that being busy was all the justification I needed to put off whatever I didn’t want to do.)

The new definition of procrastination flattened my standard excuse. By the new definition, working on the wrong things is also procrastination. I do not always work on the most important things first. Activities of secondary importance chew through some of my time every day. In a few words, the new definition of procrastination is putting off work through laziness or busyness so that it isn’t done on time. Ouch!

This new definition did nothing to motivate me to change my ways. Instead, it discouraged me. If I had to depend on myself, nothing would change. However, I know two words that can change anything: “But God.”

I have a goal given to me by God: to be a writer trained for the kingdom of heaven. (See Matthew 13:52.) Since He gave me that goal and the opportunity to work to attain it, He will enable me work without procrastination.

I made no New Year’s resolutions, but this January I changed my work habits. I read Biblical Productivity by C.J. Mahaney, (available free through the link) followed his instructions, and made plans to work on the primary activities first every day.

My Mother and I pray for me to be diligent, faithful, and fruitful. I lean on God to keep me working as I should. Together, we can replace my procrastination with timeliness. Then I’ll be able to say to God as Jesus did, “I accomplished the work You gave me to do.”

This is my prayer to combat procrastination: Dear Lord, I pray that the words of my mouth and the work of my hands bring glory to Your Name. Guide me in all my ways and strengthen me in the self-discipline I need to do the work You give me. Let me be a laborer to whom You can say, “Well done.” I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.