September 22, 2008

Procrastination Is An Enemy to Simplifying Your Life

Simplifying your life means changing your lifestyle. Changing your methods of living life can be very difficult, even when you are proactively wanting to alter things.

When you are involuntarily simplifying because of a lost job or unexpected expenses, it gets even harder. It's easy to procrastinate. Especially when things seem overwhelming. When you're afraid, it's easy to be a deer in the headlights - thinking that if you do nothing, maybe it will all go away.

Procrastination is Your Enemy

Procrastination, however, is your enemy. Don't put off things that will ultimately benefit you and your family. Nothing good can come from it.

Hara Marano's Great Article

There's a great article by Hara Marano over at Psychology Today discussing the evils of procrastination, and I encourage you to jump right over there and read it. It contains such jewels as:

  • Procrastination is a "profound problem of self-regulation." I never thought of procrastination this way before, and it makes good sense.
  • Procrastination "is one response to an authoritarian parenting style ...," where controlling parents prevent the kids from "developing the ability to regulate themselves, from internalizing their own intentions and then learning to act on them." Without judging anyone's childhood, I like the idea that identifying your own intentions and learning to act on them is a kind of self-awareness and I especially appreciate the phrase "self-regulation." Regulation of one's self, instead of having advertising agencies regulating one's behavior by set society standards, is a key component to successfully simplifying your life.
  • "Procrastinators "actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don't take a lot of commitment on their part." The example that was given was reading (or checking) e-mail, but I'm thinking video games and watching mindless television also count. Why do this? "They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure."
  • Procrastinators aren't all the same. There are the "thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush;" the "avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability;" and "decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision ... [which]absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events."
How to Change?

How to change? The Marano article suggests "highly structured cognitive behavioral therapy," whatever that is. Personally, I think that the power of prayer is of great use here, too. It's been my experience that faith can conquer procrastination:

  • “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” -- Ecclesiastes 11:4 (The Living Bible)
  • "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control." -- 2 Timothy 1:7 (CET)
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