One of the greatest time-wasters is procrastination. Many of us tend to put off those tasks we don't like doing or are afraid to tackle. Then we feel frustrated or guilty because we're not getting them done. And the more frustrated we get, the more we procrastinate and so on.
How do we get out of this cycle of defeat?
Oftentimes there's a deeper reason people keep putting things off. If this is so for you, ask God to show you the cause and work on that. In the meantime you can make a start by changing your self-talk. If you keep telling yourself that you are hopeless at getting things done on time, you will reinforce this belief and keep acting accordingly. Remember, what the mind dwells on the body acts on!
So, first of all change your self-talk by saying things to yourself like, "With God's help I will get things done on time."
Next, make a list of things to do today. List them in order of priority and tackle them one at a time. Make sure your list is realistic. If you list more than you can do, you will end up feeling discouraged and reinforce your tendency to put things off.
Third, set a positive goal. Make up your mind you are going to get each task done, giving yourself a realistic time limit in which to achieve your goal.
Fourth, plan your work then work your plan. Have a definite plan of attack and follow that plan. Take cleaning your house, garage, or yard for example. Imagine it to be a giant clock and start cleaning at the 12 o'clock position and keep working around the clock. Don't jump from one room or corner or from one task to another until each section is completed. Keep to your plan and pretty soon a sense of achievement will make the task more encouraging, enjoyable, and rewarding.
Fifth, whatever the task is, break it down into "bite-size" proportions. When I first thought about writing a book, the task seemed overwhelming. A friend suggested to think about writing it just one page at a time. I did. And the book got finished.
Sixth, reward yourself in some positive way for getting your task or tasks done on time. This will help reinforce your new belief that you are a person who gets things done when they need to be done.
Seventh, pray—especially if you are a compulsive procrastinator. Pray that God will help you to face the root cause of your problem. If you pray this prayer and truly mean it, God will show you if you genuinely want him to.
"Work hard and become a leader, be lazy and never succeed."1
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, with my procrastination problem I have (and any other problem) please give me the insight to see the cause of it, find the help I need to resolve it, and the courage to do all that is in my control to master it instead of allowing it to master me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 12:24 (TLB)(NLT).