Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. Their procrastination impacts every area of their lives. They don’t mail their bills on time. They don’t file their tax returns on time. They wait until Christmas Eve to do their Christmas shopping. They wait until the last minute to complete school assignments. They miss many opportunities because they always delay taking critical action. In fact, their dawdling is so reliable some companies count on it for profitability, offering, for instance, generous rebates that will surely never be redeemed.
What’s amazing is that these procrastinators do not always appear to be lazy people. In fact, they are often the busiest of all! However, though they are busy, they are not taking critical action. It’s important to recognize this distinction. Not only is there a difference between busyness and critical action, but also I have found that a great deal of that busyness is actually time invested in inventing ways to evade critical action. For this reason the word procrastination (with its passive implications) seems like an oxymoron. Because procrastination is apparently quite a lot of work, I prefer to call it evasive action.
There is a poem that describes this perfectly.
“I’ve gone for a drink and sharpened my pencils,
Searched through my desk for forgotten utensils.
I reset my watch, I adjusted my chair,
I’ve loosened my tie and straightened my hair.
I filled my pen and tested the blotter.
And gone for another drink of water.
Adjusted the calendar, and raised the blind
And I’ve sorted erasers of all different kinds.
Now down to work I can finally sit.
Oops, too late, it’s time to quit.”
I encountered a book once that changed my life even though I never actually read it. In fact, I never even cracked open the cover, and I have no idea who wrote it. All I needed to see was the title: Do It Now! I once was a master of evasive action. I was very good at inventing reasons a certain critical action could not be taken at that moment. There were always a myriad of reasons more planning or strategizing was necessary before something could be done. But when I saw the title of that book, something amazing happened. I think the Holy Spirit must have used it to convict me because afterward when I was tempted to procrastinate, I started to hear that little phrase ringing in my ear, “Do it now!” It made a huge, positive difference in my life. I pray that from now on, you will also begin to hear those words ringing in your ears—“Do it now!” It will change your life as well!
This article was adapted from Daniel Kolenda’s classic book Live Before you Die. To order for a copy or for more similar resources, visit http://www.livebeforeyoudie.tv.