Mostly, I am a take-charge person who rarely procrastinates. I rarely turn in assignments late or have issues with my work ethic. However, I’ve had to battle procrastination and distraction consistently. I’ve had to actively work toward my ultimate dreams and goals—especially when something is important to me.
I recall when procrastination manifested itself years ago, and I never followed up with an artistic project with a well-known Broadway singer. I was supposed to illustrate and ghostwrite her children’s book. The singer did everything she needed to do, but I didn’t follow through. Instead, I distracted myself with other artistic projects that were less demanding and posed little risk. The horrible part of this is that I was afraid to fail.
Therefore, not following through meant I wouldn’t have to face rejection.
As an author, rejection is a natural part of my job, but being an artist is also deeply personal. In my artwork and writing, I reveal the details of my soul when I paint and write. Being rejected in either arena feels like being “personally” rejected. I often remember the many missed opportunities I’ve had and neglected because I feared rejection. Later in life, I realized that my real issue was fear, not distractions or procrastination.
Thankfully, years of follow-through despite fear have helped me strengthen my weaknesses and the temptation to procrastinate and be distracted. Also, the following scriptures have helped me combat fear:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9)
“You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you” (Deuteronomy 3:22).
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
To overcome procrastination in the long term, I suggest doing the following:
Set specific and realistic goals. For example, if you want to write a book, a good plan might be “be able to write 1500 words each week,” while the wrong goals might be “do some writing” (unspecific) and “write an entire novel by the end of the month” (unrealistic).
Assess your procrastination. First, identify times when you delay unnecessarily. Then, think about those situations to determine where and when you procrastinate. Finally, determine why you procrastinate.
Create an action plan. It should involve using relevant anti-procrastination techniques, which account for your goals and the nature of your procrastination issue.
The following are critical anti-procrastination techniques:
Break tasks into manageable steps
Permit yourself to make mistakes (laugh at yourself often)
Make it easier to do things (set timers and break activities down into chunks of time)
Make tasks more enjoyable (play music or listen to a podcast)
Make it harder to procrastinate by removing distractions
Ask others to help you stay accountable
Last, implement your plan! Reflect on your progress and refine your approach by determining techniques that work for you and how you can implement them more effectively.
Prayer: Dear God, please help me to stay focused. Please show me how to eliminate procrastination and distractions from your plan and purpose for my life. Amen
Your turn: How do you deal with procrastination and distractions?