I meant to start last month. That was the plan. Then I was going to make progress a few weeks ago. Definitely, I intended to make up for lost time this past weekend. But, I started yesterday morning. The funny thing is, I expected it to be hard but it was easy. Suddenly, I wish I really had started last month. I could be so much farther now if I had.

Procrastination. Recognize it? It disguises itself as motivation for everything else but that thing you want to do, need to do, or even feel called to do.

None of us are proud of it but, most of us deal with it at some time or another. So why do we do it? A few of the many reasons we struggle with procrastination include:

  • The task seems daunting or overwhelming.
  • You don’t know how to do it.
  • You’re worried about failing.
  • You’re distracted.
  • You don’t feel like you have time.
  • You just don’t want to.

Have you ever noticed that when you finally hit panic mode and you are done procrastinating, the task most often ends up being easier and quicker than you had imagined it would be?

This week as I pondered procrastination, I realized it comes at a cost.

  • Procrastination is like a credit card with your time. We “spend” or allocate our future time today. We pay interest by the stress and anxiety it costs  to carry around the unfulfilled task until it’s completed.
  • Procrastination can steal future opportunities. Because we defer until later something that should be done now, later we are not free to do what could have been doing then instead.
  • Procrastination can cost us financially. Waiting to set aside money for college or retirement robs us of interest our money can earn. Procrastinating a payment can come with penalties and fees.
  • Procrastination can make small issues bigger. Putting off addressing some tasks can make them grow to be bigger than they would have been if they’d been addressed when we intended.
  • Procrastination can impact our impact. If we put off working on an area of influence or something we feel nudged or even called to do, we’re robbing ourselves of valuable time necessary to develop or grow in that area.
  • Procrastination can show us areas where we lack discipline. When we put off healthy habits, desired patterns, or needed change in our lives, we reveal where we need to develop stronger discipline.

So what can you do? Ask yourself two key questions: Is it urgent? And, is it important? Prioritize your time to address the items that are both urgent and important first. Don’t let yourself be distracted by things that are neither urgent nor important. Re-prioritize as needed, but resist the temptation to allow distraction today to rob your tomorrow.

The next time you feel the urge to procrastinate, ask yourself what’s the real reason you’re procrastinating, what’s the cost, and is it urgent or important, then decide what to do next.

What kinds of things cause you to procrastinate? How do you over come it? I’d love to hear from you!