The Antidote to Procrastination

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Yesterday a newsfeed on my facebook page popped up from Cale Andrews. It was a photo of a book he was reading. The chapter was about becoming more productive and realizing your potential. It said there were three catalysts “that put fire under your feet and eliminate procrastination.”

One of the catalysts was coaching. The other was accountability. Then there was this great quote that I wrote down pertaining to the third catalyst. 

“Urgency is the antidote to procrastination.”

I don’t know what else the author of the book had to say about urgency and procrastination, because Cale only posted one page! But think about it.  How often do we put off various tasks, duties and responsibilities because we don’t feel the urgency?

Of course, the fact is everyone procrastinates. At least to some degree. We put things off because they seem unpleasant, difficult or boring. We may procrastinate due to a fear of failure, rejection, or inadequacy. Of course, for some folks procrastination is just a habit. A way of life. An ingrained attitude.

Suddenly, however, urgency overtakes us. And propels us to stop procrastinating! Urgency is the fuel that fills our emotional tank to “do it now.” That bill must be paid today! These tasks must be completed before I leave for vacation. That term paper is due tomorrow, so I must write tonight!  (Incidentally, I thought about writing this post yesterday, but waited until this morning when it had to be published!)

How many of us have experienced a phone call from some friends who are in town and want to come by and see us? In an hour! It’s incredible how much energy we suddenly have and how quickly we can clean and straighten up a messy house!

However, more serious than an unkempt house, an unpaid bill or an unfinished task list is the problem of spiritual procrastination. Through the years I have talked to people about their spiritual responsibilities and I hear responses that begin with these words, “I know I should…” “I ought to…” Or “I gotta….” Listen to what the Bible says about our failure to do what we know is right.

“Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (Jas 4:17, NIV).

Several years ago my friend Dee Bowman offered this observation and admonition: “There is a common disease among Christians which I have chosen to call Putoffitis. It is the tendency to put things off, to wait until later, to procrastinate. The things involved are ofttimes things that are important and need immediate attention, sometimes urgent attention. Like a lot of itises, it’s something all of us suffer from time to time. Like many health problems, one of the best ways to combat this subtle but pervasive disease is to be aware of its symptoms and catch it early.”

If you are a procrastinator, ask why? Is it due to indecision that cripples your ability to act? Is it perfectionism that causes you to wait for the ideal time, opportunity and circumstances? Is it anger in the form of passive resistance that rebels against the wishes of others? Or it is just plain laziness?

Whatever the cause for procrastination we can control it. Developing a sense of urgency is one great way to become a pro-active person. Consider these Biblical admonitions that remind us of the brevity of life and the importance of giving God our best today.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16, NASU)

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth (Prov 27:1, NKJV)

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied “(Prov. 13:4, ESV)

Finally, the words of Jesus ought to give us a sense of urgency! “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Lk. 12:40, ESV)

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

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