Originally Answered: HOW DO YOU STOP PROCRASTINATING?
'A familiar maxim says, Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Some people, though, like to recast it and say, Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off till next week. When confronted with a demanding task, they find an easy way out in procrastination. According to one dictionary, “procrastinate” means “to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” For the procrastinator, putting things off has become a habit. As stress and pressure mount, he finds relief by pushing the task into the background and relishes his newly found “free time”—until the pressure builds up again.
At times, our physical and emotional state may require that we postpone some or even all of our work. Then, too, everyone needs an occasional break from the day-to-day routine. Even the Son of God was no exception. Jesus stayed very busy in his ministry, but he also allowed free time for himself and for his disciples. (Mark 6:31, 32) This type of respite is beneficial. Procrastination, however, is a different matter; usually it is harmful. Consider an example.
A teenage student has three weeks to prepare for a math test. There are a lot of notes and books she must review. She feels the pressure. Procrastination tempts her, and she falls into its trap. Instead of studying, she watches television. Day after day, she puts off what she needs to do to pass the test. Then, on the night before the test, she faces the whole task at last. Sitting at her desk, she begins to go through her notes and books.
Hours pass. While other members of the family sleep, she forces herself through a marathon of memorizing equations, cosines, and square roots. In school the next day, she struggles with questions that her tired mind is not prepared to answer. Her test score is poor, and she fails the course. She has to study the material again and may not be promoted to the next grade.
Procrastination proved to be very costly for this student. But there is a Bible principle that can help people avoid a situation like hers. “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) Paul was exhorting Christians to use their time wisely in caring for spiritual interests, but the principle can be helpful in many important activities of life. Since we can usually decide when to carry out a task, we will see better results and will get the job done quicker by choosing to start when the time is “opportune,” or most advantageous. This is a mark of “wise persons,” as the scripture shows.
When would be “the opportune time” for the young student to study for the math test? Perhaps every night for 15 minutes or so, she could progressively review the material. In that way, she would not have to cram the night before, during hours better spent sleeping. On the day of the test, she would be rested and fully prepared, and a good score would be within her reach.
Therefore, when you are given a task to do, determine “the opportune time” for it and do it. Then you will avoid the snare of procrastination and its consequences. You will also find satisfaction in a job well done. This is especially important when the task will affect other people, as is the case with assignments in the Christian congregation.'