Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Procrastination Redefined

If I ever got around to polling writers, I bet procrastination would be one of the top detriments to success. There are so many loop threads and blogs bemoaning it and how to overcome it that it would seem nothing new could be offered.

Pier Steel, PhD in his book "The Procrastination Equation" says psychologists and psychiatrists long believed procrastination and perfection were linked without realizing that it was perfectionists who most often sought help. Steel pulled his test group from random college students and found procrastination was more widespread than first thought.

Even more interesting was that it stemmed from various motivations. For instance, do you have low expectations? Maybe you value enjoyment more than the abstract rewards of tasks that seem irrelevant? Perhaps you’re simply impulsive, easily distracted, and hate to wait. Dr. Steel further divided expectation, values, and time into reasons people procrastinate. He offers actions for each particular type of procrastinator.

*Someone with low self-expectancy can build confidence by improving a skill that is already an interest, though unrelated. This is why students who have extracurricular activities often improve their grades. *Boredom can be avoided by increasing challenge through competition thereby increasing the value of a task. This is an idea most of us understand, but not all find comfortable or stimulating.
*Impulses can be managed by preventing your needs from becoming intense enough to cause distractions. Most surprising is this that type of person actually works harder by first scheduling something pleasurable. Could this account for that euphoric rush of creativity following an ACFW conference?

Procrastination is linked to personality type, which is how God made you. Understanding how to address your particular needs will prevent a personality type from becoming a personality flaw and possibly leading to sin. While procrastination isn’t always a sin, it can be if our delay misses God’s timing or plan for our lives.

We all procrastinate at some time or another. As writers, let’s not equate it with negative personal experience or culture by labeling it “lazy” or “immature”. Procrastination literally means “in favor of tomorrow”. This is only negative when the delay is irrational or not in our best interest. When diligent people procrastinate they call it “prioritizing” which is making wise and positive choices for available time, energy, and circumstances.

To sum it up, not all procrastination is equal. Expectancy, Value, and Time each create different reasons for Delay. Understanding how to self-motivate can unlock some mysteries for delay – and help solve the problem of procrastination.

Mary Allen lives in the Midwest with her husband and a German Short Hair Pointer. She loves God's Word which never changes and also enjoys playing with words which can be endlessly changed. She writes about God's Truth, Women's Fiction and was the La Porte County Poet Laureate from 2010-2011.


  1. Excellent article. I've tried dealing with procrastination, but just keep putting it off. I once attended a Procrastinators Anonymous, but nobody was there -- they all were planning on going to the next meeting, though.

    Have a blessed day. Now, let me attack my writing instead of putting it off any more!

  2. The quality of information that you are providing is simply marvelous.The Equation

  3. Glad you liked it. It is always a good day when your book finds its audience. Thought this section might intrigue you too:

    "The universal holy war, then, isn’t against forces of darkness but against forces of nature, our own human nature. Religions are all battling procrastination among their believers and converts because whatever promised lands or promised rewards they offer will most likely be granted in the distant future. Inevitably, everlasting salvation is being deeply discounted against a backdrop of sins that provide pleasures immediately. The world may be spiritually divided by how we view God or the good, but when it comes to damnation, procrastination leaves no doubt that all religions have a lot in common. "

  4. Thanks for your comment. I’m pleased and surprised to hear from you.

    It's true evil often doesn't have to work hard, just let human nature take its course. How grateful I am as I deal with my own humanity, tragedy,and success that Jesus promised his constant presence, strength, joy and peace in this moment and even more rewards to come later. He addresses both issues. His grace and forgiveness calls me to overcome my natural tendency to procrastinate so I may fulfill His specific call on my life.

    In general, we simply don’t make use of our available resources. It may look and act like procrastination, but mostly the root is willfulness. It’s a desire to be the center, the god of our own lives. We forget, or maybe never learned, that our Creator is not only good he is loving. He’s not only able, he’s willing. And most of all, that his plan for each individual is so uniquely fitted that the result is intense pleasure and supreme personal satisfaction when we align with it.

    People make religion hard work and cloud the interpersonal nature of God’s intentions. Jesus came that our joy might be complete. In this way,a relationship with the Jesus far outdistances religions – even those who that go by the name Christian.