Renewing Your Mind with Procrastination

IMG_0396Do you ever feel like you just can’t make yourself work on your goal no matter how hard you try?

I feel like that on a regular basis.

Last week my list told me to do three hours of paperwork. I couldn’t do it. It was either give up or renew my mind. I chose the latter.

The Good and Bad List

Here’s what I did: I made a Good and Bad List. My idea was that if could see the consequences of my actions (remember the Bible study last week?), I would actually want to do my paperwork.

It worked. I did my paperwork. Cheerfully. For three hours. Here’s the chart I made in my journal. It contrasts the rewards of following through on my goal (the good) with the consequences of not following through on my goal (the bad):

A Life of Procrastination A Life of Following the List
  1. Always stressed
  2. Overwhelmed.
  3. Things don’t get done in time.
  4. Keeps me from feeling free to do other things because it’s always in the back of my mind.
  5. Desk is always messy. 
  6. A low-grade chain around my neck.
  7. I’m not “getting rid of all my belongings” like God says to.
  1. That amazing feeling that comes with an empty desk.
  2. No more negative energy wasted on thinking about what I “should” be doing.
  3. Easier to stay caught up.
  4. Will love others better because I’ll write notes to people right away.
  5. Will feel more free to get out and serve in the community if I’m caught up at home.

Can you see why I actually felt like doing my paperwork by the time I was finished with the list?

If you want to give this a try with your own goal, make a chart and start filling it in. First, write the consequences of your current way of operating in the area of your goal. Then write the benefits of the life you want to live. Then compare them.

Let me know if your desires change!

P.S. I fully expect to have to have to do the exact same thing over again the next time I have 3 hours of paperwork on my list. Or maybe even 15 minutes.

Question: Think of your goal. Would it help to look at the benefits of changing and/or the consequences of not changing?

This entry was posted in New Year's Resolution Bible Study, Renewing of the Mind Tools and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Renewing Your Mind with Procrastination

  1. I don’t know why it’s so hard when the rewards are so great! I like your lists, I had made mine good and bad about the goal, when procrastination is the real reason I’m avoiding it! I like to pray before I begin anything that I find stressful, I am amazed at how well it goes if I remember to do that. It’s horrible how often I just dig in to do something I’ve procrastinated on and forget to ask His help/blessing. He always blesses my work when I ask! (((HUGS)))

    • Barb says:

      Thanks for that reminder, Elizabeth. I often forget to pray which is crazy. When I remember, everything is so much easier. I’m far more likely to do the project with His motives, His help, and His fellowship.

  2. tcavey says:

    It certainly does help to look at things like this. Really puts it into perspective. I like that you added you will have to do this again. So often we think doing something just once will create in us a better habit, but it doesn’t.
    I get like this with cleaning my car out. Often I have a few changes of baby clothes, tons of toys, a few pair of baby shoes and his cups in my car. Each time I clean it out I think to myself “I’m not going to let it get like this again” but I do.

    • Barb says:

      Haha, every time I clean out my car, I end up thinking, “Why did I clean out my car?” because I end up needing something I just cleaned out of it!

  3. Dan Black on Leadership says:

    Great perspectives. I find making a mental list of the positive things that would happen after completing my goal very compelling when it comes to doing it. I have to fight procrastination though.

    • Barb says:

      I’ve actually made a similar chart three different times in the last couple of weeks now for paperwork and I almost have it caught up now – it’s helping me with procrastination! That’s great that you do it already in your mind. I need to do that!

  4. I think listing out these benefits is a great thing, but the key here – what you did implicitly – is to link your current actions to the desired benefits. So often, we fool ourselves into thinking that, yes, we want the good benefits – but that it doesn’t matter if we slack off a little bit now.
    Great stuff.

    • Barb says:

      Yes, I think that’s a common way to feel. Making a conscious effort to think of the consequences of procrastination and the benefits of changing my ways help me get out of that rut of thinking it’s okay to slack a bit now – since slacking becomes a way of life.

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