Get Rid of Procrastination Once and for All

Do you procrastinate too much? Are you waiting for your “big break” to take the next (or first) step towards your big goal?

Stop Procrastination

Procrastination: If it’s important, you’ll find the time. If it’s not, you’ll just make excuses. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

If so, then it’s time to get rid of procrastination once and for all. Here’s how.

The irony of this post is that I procrastinated in writing it.

I had a cooler post that I wanted to write. One that had me more excited than this post. One that was more fun to write. So I started down the path of writing that one. (It’s worth the wait, trust me.)

Then I realized I would be a hypocrite of the worst kind. So here I am; writing this post about procrastination. Talk about applying the principles I write about. Admittedly, taking my own advice is much harder than giving it.

Start at the beginning (that’s a good place to start)

Tony Evans writes in his book, Kingdom Man, about a frequent experience in his life as someone with millions of radio listeners and television viewers.

Young pastors approach him and want to know the “secret to his success.” Evans replies by asking them to name the last time they ministered to a small group of teenage boys or spoke at a prison. As you can imagine, most people don’t like those questions in response. They want to know his secret sauce, not be confronted with reality.

The reality is that Tony Evans spent years speaking to individuals and small groups before he was reaching millions. He says in his book:

…if you aren’t willing to start at the beginning and be responsible where you are, then how do you expect God to give you more?

Put differently, how could you possibly expect to be able to handle speaking to millions when you’ve never spoken to one, or tens, or hundreds?

Stop making excuses

Ultimately, procrastination comes to down to making excuses.

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You make excuses why you should check Facebook instead of writing that business proposal. You justify five more minutes of reading the news when you know that you could sneak in a quick workout. You rationalize why you spend an hour working on something that is neither urgent nor important, but it sure feels productive, when you could finish the project that is due Friday.

Those excuses seem ridiculous, and even though you might make them often, you know that they aren’t productive.

But what about the excuses you make for procrastinating because you want more?

You put off caring for your lawn until you have a nicer house on a nicer property. You don’t bother to get up thirty minutes earlier to work on your side business because it’s only thirty minutes and your business isn’t even growing that much. Much better to put that off until you have more money or connections.

The answer to all of this is to stop making excuses for why you don’t start. Stop belittling where you are today and “work with what you’ve got.”

Go create opportunities

When Tony Evans was just getting started as a preacher, he could have come up with a thousand excuses why he wouldn’t preach.

He had no experience.

He had no church.

He wouldn’t be paid.

No one had asked him to.

But he didn’t wait.

He preached at bus stops. Every Friday.

He writes:

There was no honorarium. There was no pay. Half the time, no one even looked at me. But based on where I was at that point in my life, that was the best congregation I could locate. Churches weren’t inviting me to come preach to them. Yet God had called me to preach, so I wasn’t about to wait for a church to invite me. I had to go create one.

If Tony Evans hadn’t preached on Fridays at bus stops in Atlanta when no one was paying any attention, he wouldn’t be speaking to millions today.

He created opportunities. He didn’t wait for the perfect opportunity. He didn’t wait for the situation to improve. He didn’t make excuses why it wouldn’t work. He didn’t wait for an invitation.

He did what he was called to do, without hesitation.

The right tools

Until you have that mindset, you will continue to procrastinate.

Until you decide once and for all that you will do what you are called to do without hesitation, all of the tools, tricks, apps, and books in the world won’t help you stop procrastinating.

Procrastination is an attitude. It’s a disease. It’s not something that goes away with 10 steps, an accountability partner, a to-do list, or an extra cup of coffee.

It ends when you stop waiting for an invitation. It ends when you create your own opportunities and pounce on them like a lion on a gazelle. It ends today…if you decide it does.

Question: What has caused you to procrastinate? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Let’s Grow Leaders

    So agree… so much of life is about just getting stuff done, even when (especially when) we don’t want to. Procrastination often comes from fear of doing the harder work we need to make us achieve our potential.

  • I’ve been working on procrastination. Rather, anti-procrastination. I usually struggle with trying to get things perfect, and it takes forever to get to “done.” I’ve gotten better, especially as I’ve been hearing and reading more about just getting a minimal viable product, and then tweaking it.

    • Yes! The MVP is a concept I’ve lived by for years…long before I’d ever heard the term. Focusing on that will help you limit your procrastination big time.

    • David Mike

      Great idea, this has been suggested to me but not by that name. I need to remember that.

  • David Mike

    I’m a serial procrastinating perfectionist. I things to be perfect before I start. Major problem! Deadlines are my best friefriend, because it means that’s when it happens. I also suffer from the fear of “never done it before.” Causes me to freeze up. No more excuses!

    • Hey David, you perfectionist, did you see the typos in your comment? It’s okay – no one died and no one got cancer. 😎 We even understand what you were saying! This proves that perfectionism is not a valid reason to procrastinate.

      I am captivated by your story on your blog – read it straight through and am looking forward to the rest of the story. (Hey Matt’s Tribe, go read David Mike’s story!!)

      • David Mike

        LOL! How ironic. That’s what I get for using Android Swype on a tablet. Good thing there is an edit button. I appreciate you reading my story. Thanks for the shout out!

      • “This proves that perfectionism is not a valid reason to procrastinate.”

        That is awesome.

    • Love it David! No more.

      Perfectionism *can* be a big strength…unless it entirely paralyzes you.

  • Great post Matt. I am convinced God tests us right away with what we teach or during writing it;)

  • I’ve been learning the difference between disciplined waiting for valid reasons and procrastination. It is very satisfying to me to dive in, slam through, and check it off. So, it is good for me to take a more disciplined and careful approach to really important projects. When one is not a perfectionist, doing a cruddy job is always a danger.

    (Not intending to be a contrarian, Matt – just wanting to show the other dimension and keep the discussion going!)

    • Actually I think what you just said is the opposite of procrastination. You “dive in, slam through, and check it off.” Sounds like getting things done to me.

      • You are right, Matt. It is getting things done, but sometimes I need to hold back. That holding back may look like procrastination to an outsider, but it is intentionally waiting, rather than being lazy or afraid.

    • David Mike

      Sounds like they are different concepts. Disciplined waiting is intentional. Procrastination is being lazy.

  • I procrastinated all day reading this post. :)

  • I decided to read just one more blog post when I should have been writing my next blog post!!! I am feeling quite convicted after reading this. I better get to it!!!

  • Stephanie Robbins

    I do social media for a living. It is so easy to get distracted. It starts off as productive but goes side ways.

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