Friday, December 27, 2013

Dealing with procrastination

Some people just have all the luck. They get up every morning, raring to go, and get straight to work on their long list of things-to-do (yeah, they're so awesomely dedicated they have an actual, written list, not one that's merely floating through brain matter). Then they go to work or school, put in the time there, quickly getting everything done (those people, you know, the ones doing their homework during lunch while you're hanging with the posse, or who work through their lunch so they don't have to stay late and finish that account). Afterwards, they come back home, and barely shed their backpack or briefcase before they're back to work on their to-do list from this morning, barely taking time out for dinner. By 8 pm, they've finished everything on that list, but instead of enjoying a quiet evening, reveling in the knowledge of their awesomeness, they start on tomorrow's list. Only to go to bed in about an hour and start the cycle all over again, never having a single doubt...

For most of us, it doesn't quite work that way. We wake up, and then hit the snooze button because our bed begs us not to leave it all alone. When we finally drag ourselves out of bed, we watch a bunch of YouTube videos before we head to classes or work (gotta keep up on the latest, right?). When we're there, we know we should get those four projects out of the way as soon as possible, or we could use the minutes before class starts to get that paper outlined, but we check our email or text our bff instead. When we get home, there's a mountain of things to get done, papers to write, phone calls to make...but we're so tired, we collapse in front of the TV and don't move except to grab a Hot Pocket from the freezer. And then we stagger to our computers to finally get some work done, only to reason that we really should check Facebook one more time, or Tweet that joke we heard during lunch...

Sound familiar? Except for the few mythical people out there who never doubt themselves, and always lunge towards the next thing on their expanding list, we've all been there. I was there just this morning (you too? Sorry I missed you), putting off an errand I had to run. And although some of us could be sloths of human beings (which if so, that's a whole different ball park right there, and you probably wouldn't have gotten this far if you were), many of us are just plain scared. Scared of doing it wrong. Scared of being told no. Scared of being a failure.

I've got good news and bad news for you. Bad news first: you're gonna fail. You're gonna mess up. You're gonna be told no. Good news: it doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean you're totally unworthy of love, or that you need to crawl to the nearest cave and lock yourself in for all eternity. It just means you're human. Congrats, we all are. In fact, if you don't totally blow it at least once in a while, that means there's something totally wrong with you (such as you're a pathological liar, or delusional). Just by glancing through the Bible, I bet you can come up with a list of people who failed in one way or another. Adam and Eve, for instance. God gave them one rule, not to eat from the tree, and yet they failed to keep it (and poor Eve failed to see that Satan tricked her) (Genesis 3:1-6). Yet God still loved them so much, even though He knew they were going to fail, that He already had a plan. God doesn't love you any less for failing. Your friends and family don't love you any less. That little voice telling you all these lies is Satan. He doesn't want you to win. He's always against you. Don't believe these lies.

But what can you do when he starts throwing those things at you? Pray. When you have something pressing to do, and you can't get yourself to work on it, just pray. Pray until you feel like you could tackle it (by the way, I mean like lie-on-your-face-and-do nothing-but-pray praying, not watch-TV or scan-texts praying). Talking to God is always going to be more helpful in overcoming the fear than checking out your ex's relationship status on Facebook or those funny cat videos. Then give it a go for five minutes. Tell yourself you can quit after those five minutes. Chances are you'll be so involved you'll work past the alarm, and that dreadful task won't seem so bad after all.

Father, thank You for always giving me the strength I need to get things done. Please help me when I don't feel like doing it. Help me not to be afraid of messing up. In Jesus’ Name,  Amen.

What are some ways you deal with procrastination? Let me know in the comments!

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