As we relaunch our website, we’ve chosen a collection of posts to share again. This is one of our picks because Laura is sincere and hilarious—and her intentional desire to grow is so helpful! We hope her wisdom inspires you to create order in your home.
Laura is creative and peaceful, and everything she touches turns to gold. Whether it is coming alongside me in the holiest prayer or scrambling to finish the prep for my child’s party—she’s always got my back. As someone looking in, I didn’t see the weakness of procrastination she saw in herself. But she did the difficult task of reflecting, and seven years later, she is so much better for it.
We can look at our weaknesses and turn away, overwhelmed, refusing to deal with them, or we can know that the sanctifying work of Christ is meant to penetrate every part of our lives, take a good long look in the mirror, and do the work with Him. I know which I want to do—and which one Scripture calls me to.
She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. – Proverbs 31:27
But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. – 1 Corinthians 14:40
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. – 1 Corinthians 14:33
Okay, you’re convinced, right? Keep reading to be inspired by Laura’s process of creating order in the home...
As a grade schooler, the science project always got started a scant few days before the fair. Books were read only days before a report was presented.
In high school, I remember waiting until the night before term papers were due to even start writing them. I would stay up all night and finish as the sun was rising.
I’ve rarely missed a deadline, but I have always made myself insane trying to meet it at the last minute. It still happens all the time.
It came to a head recently when I had committed to make some handmade decorations and ship them to a friend for a party. I waited until the very last minute to even start crafting them, and they took about 8 hours longer than they should have, causing me to ignore my family for a solid day and a half trying to get it all done at once. And worse than that, when I ran the package to the post office (a day later than I’d even hoped thanks to glue that wouldn’t dry), the cost to get the package delivered on time was $110. One. hundred. and. ten. The supplies had only cost me $5. I drove home from the post office in hysterical tears. It would have only cost a fraction of that had I gotten there a week earlier. But I had ignored the task and moved it from one day’s to-do list to the next every single day for weeks on end. Not only did I suffer during that period of time knowing I had a huge project looming over my head, but in the end I was beyond stressed trying to complete it, my family was ignored, and I wasted a huge amount of money needlessly.
I’ve often made excuses for procrastinating. “Well, I just work better under pressure,” or “I need to have a looming deadline before creative inspiration can strike.” Whatever I told myself, true or not, I couldn’t keep living this way.
After drying my tears and doing some hard self-assessment, I realized just how pervasive procrastination is throughout my daily life. If my car is down to a ¼ tank, I will drive right past the gas station; I only get gas when the gauge crosses the red line. If the dog food bin is getting low, I’ll wait until it runs out completely before hopping over to the pet store. I routinely lie in bed for 15 minutes looking at my phone after waking up, or linger over a cup of coffee before I get dressed in the morning. If a blog post is due Monday, I start it on Sunday night. I only clean my house before company is coming over. If there’s a pile on the stairs that needs to go up, I walk right past it. Somewhere inside I’m thinking, “There’s plenty of time later in life to pick up that pile and put it away.” Side note: one of the worst things about being a parent is watching your flaws get passed on to the next generation. Now I watch my kids walk past the pile on the stairs! Every time. They don’t even see it. Not good.
It is routine in my life to exchange the task at hand for a more pleasant or interesting one until that task becomes absolutely necessary. The consequences can range from stress and feeling rushed, all the way to wasted expense, and even-- though it hasn’t happened yet, thankfully-- personal peril! What happens the day I run out of gas during a Chicago winter??
Before I could train myself to think, and therefore act, differently, I decided it was important to get to the root cause of my procrastination. So I made a list of all the reasons I do it.
OK, now we were getting somewhere. If someone brought that list to me, it would be easy to slash it apart and give a rebuttal for each excuse. And let’s be honest, these are excuses! When I wrote them out on paper, it was embarrassingly plain to see that. But as with most feelings, I’d never taken the time to articulate and assess them. I just responded with rote physical action (or inaction, as the case may be).
From there, I looked at what specific times of day and in what situations procrastination was most often affecting my daily life.
I quickly realized that procrastination was stealing some things from me.
Ouch. It’s true. When I stay in my pajamas for too long in the morning, then I’m running around barking orders and hustling out the door, always forgetting something. “Mom, are we late?” has become a normal part of my kids’ vocabulary. And seriously, there have been days I would have loved to call a friend and ask her to stop by for coffee, but couldn’t because the house was such a wreck. That’s not fair to me or my family. Or the friend who needs coffee!
Tomorrow I’ll share with you what goals I set and changes I made, in light of all this self-evaluation. I’ll also share the experiment I embarked on to kick my procrastination habit to the curb.
This post was originally shared on March 11, 2015 by Laura Irion as TIME MANAGEMENT: OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION - PART 1 : SELF EVALUATION.
For more wisdom on orderly living, see Lesson 4 of Entrusted with a Child’s Heart: A godly mother lives by God’s plan of order and Lesson 5, A godly mother looks well to the ways of her household .
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