“While wasting our time hesitating and procrastinating, life goes on.” – Seneca
Sometimes I procrastinate. I postpone doing things that I know I need to do. And then I do something else.
Perhaps you do this too.
You may decide to postpone filing your income tax return this year… because you know you can get an automatic extension. Or because you just can’t find all the documentation you need – or you just don’t want to look for it.
There are all kinds of reasons to procrastinate. And the more I procrastinate, the better I get at making excuses to explain why I didn’t get something finished. (Perhaps you can relate to this even just a little bit.)
Recently I started reading a book called The End of Procrastination – you can check it out on amazon.com (click here). As I read the book, I realized that one of the reasons I’ve been good at procrastinating is because I don’t see how certain activities I “need to do” actually connect with my personal vision for the future. Essentially, I often have trouble seeing the value of certain tasks.
So let’s talk about completing my annual report for the Missionary Church. Every year for the past 30 years since I was licensed, I have had the responsibility to complete this report by Feb 15. Some years I’ve been diligent to get it done right away. Other years, I’ve missed the deadline by a mile and received countless reminders that I needed to get it done. To be honest, I often haven’t seen the value in completing the report by Feb 15.
This year, when I got the email alerting me to complete my report, I thought, “Since I’m the Interim Regional Director, I really ought to do that right away.” But then I didn’t. I put it off. As we started to receive completed annual reports in our office, I told myself, “Dave, you need to be an example. Get your report done.” Yet I still didn’t do it.
As I read the book The End of Procrastination, I began to see several factors that contributed to my delayed action.
- I didn’t see personal value in getting it done.
- I had many other things to do that I felt were more important.
- I didn’t actually make it my intention to complete the report.
- The completion of this report seemed unnecessary to me.
- I failed to connect my responsibility to complete my annual report to my personal vision.
I’ve been told that being a Big Procrastinator likely means that you are intelligent and very creative (especially when it comes to creating excuses). Just reading my list of “factors” that contributed to postponing the completion of my annual report should indicate to you that I am a very creative person.
However, here’s what I now understand as I’ve reflected on my personal vision and my responsibility to complete the report. I seek to be a responsible leader. This is who I intend to be.
Postponing my responsibilities is a reflection of my character – and not one that I’m proud of. Ignoring deadlines and missing deadlines is irresponsible.
Living out my personal vision with integrity requires that I take responsibility for seemingly unimportant tasks like completing my annual report by the Feb 15 deadline.
So I did. I sat down and took the time to complete the report. It felt good to act responsibly.
When I received my credential in 1989, I accepted the responsibility to “report annually to the regional conference and denomination on the appropriate report form.” In fact, every person who has been licensed or ordained with the Missionary Church has accepted this same responsibility.
You and I both know that it feels good to act responsibly. It’s a reflection of our character.
Here are a few more insights to consider if you struggle with procrastination…
- The more you procrastinate, the more negative feelings you experience.
- Procrastination reinforces itself. It’s what we do instead of doing something meaningful.
- If you leave work until the last minute, the quality of your work decreases drastically.
- Procrastination is not inborn, It is something you can be taught and untaught.
- All of us are able to significantly decrease and limit our procrastination.
- If we procrastinate less, the general quality of our life increases.
- One of the most important skills to develop in your life is the ability to fight procrastination.
- Procrastination exhausts us more than actual work.
- The inability to start is the most important thing to overcome.
I heard all of these statements in the first lesson of an online course on Ending Procrastination. The course costs $45 – but the first two lessons are free. I encourage you to check it out if you really struggle with procrastination in your life.
Here’s the link to the course: Overcoming Procrastination.
Reflect on how procrastination shows up in your daily routine. Consider how to connect your purpose to the areas where you are procrastinating. Then, live with purpose.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”