If you find yourself setting goals that are never achieved, you probably are the victim of the nemesis of achievement – better known as procrastination. It has delayed, and even ruined, the goals and dreams of more people than anything else in human life.
I know of where I speak, because I was a longtime victim – not for days, weeks or months, but literally for years.
Many years ago I promised myself that I would sit down and start reading the Bible. Yes, you read right – I procrastinated for 30 years before I lived up to that promise. I kick myself when I think about all that wasted time. Today, I could be much farther ahead in scriptural knowledge than I am now. But this is not about me – it’s about you.
First, let’s analyze what it means to procrastinate and why we do it. By definition, it simply means to put off from day to day. This definition implies that we tend to believe that time is of no consequence. We tell ourselves that we have plenty of time to accomplish our goals in life. So one answer to the “why” question is our over-estimation of available time.
Another answer may be our habit of over-extending ourselves in goal setting. In other words, we often have “too many irons in the fire,” as the saying goes. We try to do too many things all at once. Most of us are not good at multi-tasking. Procrastination naturally flows from this situation; and as a result, the things we want to do remain undone.
Those of us who over-extend or over-estimate are very often plagued with two deficiencies that make it even worse – a lack of discipline and a lack of focus. At your leisure, carefully read Proverbs 30:24-27 where we learn about focus and discipline from three of God’s creations – ants, locusts and badgers.
Solomon makes this observation: Even though small in stature by comparison to other earthly creatures, ants, locusts and badgers are exceedingly wise. All are focused on survival and have trained themselves to prepare in advance for what they know the future holds. Ants store food for future use; badgers build houses in rocks for daily protection; locusts are unified in efforts to survive.
Finally, in Ephesians 5:15, 16 Paul exhorts us in the area of time over-estimation. He shares with us the mindset of the wise in facing life’s problems. Wise people exhibit cautious and watchful attitudes in life, especially in the management of time. He reminds us that the wise do not waste time because one does not know what evil lurks in the shadows on a daily basis.
So, here’s a primer on how to eliminate procrastination in life: Learn to manage time, realizing it’s later than you think. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Develop discipline and focus in efforts to reach established goals.
Most importantly, since we cannot predict the future, do not waste time. Make every minute in your life count for something.
In short, life your life on purpose.
Rev. O.L. Johnson, a retired LAPD lieutenant, is an associate pastor in his home church, Greater New Zion Baptist, 501 W. 80th St. in Los Angeles.
Pastor’s Corner is a monthly religious column that looks at the relevancy of scripture to life today. The column appears on the first Thursday of each month in the Wave and its website, www.wavenewspapers.com.