The Price Of Procrastination

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Do you ever procrastinate? We all do. Just to be sure, think of three things that you’ve been meaning to do. Maybe it’s a light that needs a new bulb, an article you’ve been meaning to read, or an email response was needed to be sent weeks ago. We all have that list and for some reason it seems easier to pass it off than to just do what we need to do. That’s called procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate?

Many experts feel we procrastinate because the perfectionist in us sees what we are putting off doing as not worth the effort because we can’t see how we can get it done to our high standard. That may be true but it’s also a matter of comfort.

Another expert says it may be a matter of priorities and what makes us feel uncomfortable. If we arrange our priorities and really have a good feel for what is important then we’ll feel more uncomfortable putting things off than the perceived discomfort of doing the task at hand.

Perfectionism, priorities, or just plain procrastination has a great price because if you  put off what you could and/or should be doing, you lose. It may be a matter of not wanting to deal with something that makes you uncomfortable or it could be a matter of not having your priorities in order but when you put things off you lose. Often people around you and those close to you also bear the brunt of your putting things off. The price of procrastination goes way beyond the action or lack thereof.

Proverbs 26:13–16 (ESV) — 13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. 15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

Proverbs 6:10–11 (ESV) — 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

What can be done to overcome procrastination?

Listen to the psalmist:

Psalm 119:60 (ESV) — 60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.

Hasten! That means you want to overcome procrastination, discipline yourself to jump on things right away. That could mean when you think of things or are told about things that need to be done is you hasten to add that to a list so it’s ever before your eyes and you take the first steps in completing the project. If it’s on a “to do” list it’s more likely to be done than if it’s not. If the first steps are taken to completion, then you have momentum to completing the project. The psalmist above hastened in keeping the commandments. Granted that is a lifelong project but he so his hastening was getting into action instead of just thinking about it.

Compare that attitude to that of the sluggard and note how Proverbs points to a new direction in the example of the ant:

Proverbs 6:6–8 (ESV) — 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.

It’s just not good to be a procrastinator. You show yourself to be unreliable, so your word becomes meaningless which is a sad state. As stated above, the price of procrastination goes far beyond the missed joy of a completed project it really can become a way of life to the dismay of those around you. Some good advice I heard was that when you get the urge to procrastinate, then procrastinate the procrastination. That sounds like a positive from a double negative, which I suppose it is. When applied then put off the putting off and hasten to take the first steps to completing whatever you need to do. That way you’ll avoid the real price of procrastination.


Bob Brubaker

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