By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
“My evil genius, Procrastination, has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.’” ~Mary Todd Lincoln
I once took a personality quiz that determined I was a “Creative Procrastinator.” I think it was a nice way of saying that I’m too busy walking around with my head in the clouds to get anything productive done.
The many hours of thinking, dreaming, and creating is a great way of putting off the duller things in life, like cleaning, exercising, and budgeting… (yawn).
However, being a natural procrastinator is often exhausting and frustrating. Because let’s face it, real life doesn’t take place in the clouds. It happens with two feet on the ground. Missing deadlines or putting things off until later can leave us feeling overwhelmed, burdened, and stressed out.
So, what’s a person to do? Can a natural procrastinator learn productivity? You betcha.
1. Prioritize your relationships.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV)
In my book, Prioritize Your Life and Get All Your Ducks in a Row by Following the Imprint of God, I focus first and foremost on relationships. Why?
Because putting life into perspective by valuing our relationships, spurs us into action! Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather finish a project, knowing it will allow cherished time with your loved ones, than procrastinate and miss out?
By first prioritizing our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then prioritizing our time with friends and family, we are giving ourselves the best reasons to get things done!
2. Buy a tomato timer.
I recently learned about the Pomodoro Technique and began applying it to my writing. It’s a simple formula of setting a timer for 25 minutes and writing without distraction. When the timer goes off, it’s time for a 5 minute break—away from the computer.
I have to admit, it really works! The five minute breaks may feel like intrusions, but they get me up and moving, outside for some fresh air, and do not hinder my creative flow.
For the natural procrastinator, 25-minute intervals can be just the right amount of fuel for solid productivity. It’s an achievable amount of time without the overwhelm.
(Find out more about the Pomodoro Technique HERE)
3. Change your habit by finding the right reward.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9)
At the beginning of each year, I typically choose 2-3 books that I want to read as a way of growing in faith and life. This year, I just happened to stumble upon a fascinating book called the The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
The premise is that our habits are mostly formed by some sort of “trigger and reward” cycle. For example: a runner places his running shoes in plain sight so that every morning they are a reminder to run. The reward comes when the powerful endorphins lift his mood, and start his day with a boost of motivation.
For us procrastinators, we need to find a reward that is worth the work. Then, we need to put a trigger in place to remind us of that reward.
For example: If I procrastinate in writing an article, I will probably turn in a half-hearted piece to the editor. The outcome will not be favorable. But, if I set up a reminder to work on the article every afternoon at my favorite coffee shop, my reward will be quality content that I can feel confident about—and a great cup of java! Find the reminder and reward system that is worth it to you.
Let’s face it, being a natural procrastinator may describe us, but it doesn’t have to define us.
The personality test that said I was a “Creative Procrastinator,” was only one way of describing how I work. But, by prioritizing my relationships, setting short achievable goals, and creating new habits that are rewarding, I am determined to change the outcome of the next personality test.
How about you?
If you struggle with procrastination like I do, check out my book and then let me know how it helps. I’d love to hear about your productivity tips and methods of beating procrastination!
Jennifer Waddle is best known for words of encouragement as an Author, Speaker and Musician for Women’s Ministry. She currently has three published books on Amazon and is a regular contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com and GotQuestions.org. Jennifer is committed to sharing authentic messages of hope to women of all walks of life. She loves being a wife of 24 years, mom of four, and nana of two. Most of all, she cherishes her time spent in the Word of God, with a cup of coffee and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. Contact Jennifer here: www.jenniferwaddleonline.com or [email protected]
Publication date: February 24, 2017
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com