As you have probably realized there is not a lack of information or opinions on how to overcome procrastination. It is a big subject to tackle inside of one blog post. However, my goal today is for you to see procrastination from a different perspective. I will state up front that laziness and procrastination are most often two separate things. While laziness has many causes, I believe that there is often a root cause. The Bible gives us insight into laziness when it says:
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard.”
In other words, go find some ants and watch them for awhile. They are busy and their life is full of purpose. I believe that fundamentally laziness stems from a lack of purpose. When there is no goal or no target to shoot for a person becomes lazy. As John Maxwell says “When there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.” Goals, dreams, and aspirations stir up the enthusiasm in us to do things. Michael Hyatt recently used a great illustration at a conference that I attended. He talked about the ever slight “drift” that can happen in the ocean. It is subtle. You end up way off track without even realizing it. Life is a lot like that as well. Are you drifting without a purpose?
Now, procrastination is a different story. It can plague all of us, even the most ambitious ones. What I have discovered about procrastination is the importance of understanding the difference between “want” and “need.” It is the ultimate battle of the short-term versus the long-term. It is the struggle between “Now-me” and “Future-me.” Allow me to stick with this analogy. Write this down and place it by your computer:
“Now-me” gets to make the choices for “Future-me,” but “Future-me” gets to face the consequences.
You may need to read that again to fully understand my point. Procrastination is often a short-sided perspective.
Enjoys eating anything Faces the dangers of obesity
Chooses to not workout Manages health issues
Decides not to write a book Lives with the frustration of not taking action
Focuses on career only Saddened that the kids are grown and gone
Indulges in temptation Lives with the hurt and pain of bad choices
Thinks only of himself Wonders where the marriage fell apart
Make Your Own List
I hope you are seeing the point I am trying to make. Now, here is an activity that I would like for you to take. Pull out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write “Now-me” on the left hand side and “Future-me” on the right side. Take an honest assessment of your life. Your choices determine your outcome. There is no getting around that principle. Write down everything you are currently procrastinating on. Also, leave room to add to your list when you notice that you have made a bad choice as the day goes along. How does that play out to the “Future-You?” Is it what you want? If not, change it.
Overcoming procrastination for me is this:
Having a regular conversation with the “Future-me” to see what it is that I should be doing.
Are you living short-sighted?