Saturday, July 17, 2010


I don't just procrastinate - I PRO-crastinate. I am a pro at procrastination.

Blogging could be a procrastination strategy. "I am not doing what I should be doing, but at least I am doing something."

My more complex rationalization is "The kind of creative work I do (i.e., preparing sermons and lessons) cannot be switched on and off light a light. Things like playing my flute or reading or even blogging help me to get into the right frame of mind for my more serious work."

I suppose it is dangerous when you believe your rationalizations while recognizing that they are RATIONALIZATIONS! Nevertheless - I've been meaning to write about procrastination - but I've been putting it off. (Ha, ha, ha!) So now is a good time to get this blog written - because I am not ready to do my other work and my thoughts on procrastination are pretty much gelled.

Deadlines are the best weapon against procrastination. Some people say, "I work best under pressure." What they mean is that they find it easier to turn out their work with a deadline looming over them. If you have a real deadline with real consequences it will keep you going on the work.

Ironically, it is things that you have all the time in the world for that you will procrastinate. People who block out exorbitant amounts of time for their work are often people who procrastinate. They have had project X on their "to do" list all week. But if they don't get project X done by 7:00 PM on Friday it is no problem because they plan to work ten hours on Saturday too. They figure they will just get it done on Saturday. They remove the urgency that a real deadline creates by injecting more time into their work week. (Sometimes LOTS more time.)

Planning is another tool for avoiding procrastination. If you have a big project - something that will take hours and hours and hours to complete - you will naturally want to procrastinate it. Who can face such a huge project? But if your first step is to plan out the work by breaking down the project into manageable bites - then you feel better about getting started. In fact, planning was the first step, so you are already started.

Don't be foolish and wait until the day of the deadline to get started. Start the day that you get the project. Do the planning. Do the first hour or two of work on the project. A ten hour project is much more doable in five two-hour chunks.

Finally, Good Character is a safeguard against bad procrastination. I say "bad procrastination" because there are things that you should procrastinate. There is good procrastination! You should procrastinate the things that have the least value. You should procrastinate the things that you should not do - like shop on the internet when you are being paid to work. There are things you want to do and will do - that should be put off until all of the important things are really truly done.

Good Character is a safeguard against bad procrastination because a person of good character is honest with himself about his choices and actions. A person of good character will choose to do the right things at the right times. (There is never a right time to do the wrong things, but some things are only wrong when they are done at the wrong time. For example, there is nothing inherently wrong with sleep - but sleeping when you are being paid to work is wrong.)

Good Character makes choices that honor God by their truthfulness and integrity. Good Character avoids choices that have a hint of guilt or shame about them and does the things that can be clearly praised from every vantage point - coworkers, spouses, bosses & friends.
(Ephesians 5:12–16) For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
15 ¶ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

1 comment:

Bobbi said...

Wow...some really deep thoughts...I guess I'd been procrastinating thinking deeply about procrastination; less painful that way! this why I put off dusting?'s just the worst chore in the world...that's it!

"I suppose it is dangerous when you believe your rationalizations while recognizing that they are RATIONALIZATIONS!" I laughed right out loud!