Wash the windows? Maybe next week. Take the watch to the jeweler for repair? Later. A kitchen renovation? Forget it — too many decisions. We’ve all occasionally postponed a dreaded chore or task. But if it’s the rule instead of the exception, can it be problematic or lead to health issues?
Procrastinators can be prone to higher stress levels, decreased well-being, lower school grades, less successful careers, and a greater risk of illness. Procrastination eats away at one of our most valuable and limited resources: our time.
1) Inability to make accurate time estimates
2) Good intentions without action
3) May prefer service jobs
Common personality traits: Perfectionism, self-deception, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, fear of competition, and worry that others will judge their abilities. (If they never complete a task, they can’t be judged.)
Types of Procrastination
Chronic procrastinators have problems finishing tasks. Situational procrastinators have issues with the task itself.
Researchers describe various types of procrastination. Among them are:
Behavioral Procrastination: A form of self-sabotage allowing one to shift blame and avoid action (i.e., a student blames his poor test grade on his procrastination). Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, says these people would rather create the impression that they lacked effort instead of lacking ability.
Decisional Procrastination: A means of postponing a decision involving conflicts or choices. They tend to be perfectionists and want to avoid making errors. Dr. Ferrari notes that they may seek an over-abundance of information and still be unable to make a decision. They may create so many choices that they are unable to choose for fear of selecting one that is less than perfect.
In the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, June 2015, a study by F.M. Sirois looked at links between procrastination traits and hypertension/cardiovascular disease (HT/CVD). In looking at healthy individuals and those with HT/CVD, they found that higher procrastination scores were associated with HT/CVD. (PubMed)
1) Reducing a task to smaller, more manageable segments.
2) Counseling. Assistance with setting personal deadlines on projects.
3) “Don’t bail them out,” says Ferrari. This allows them to experience the consequences of their actions. If they know someone will always be there to do it for them, it enables them to continue to procrastinate.
4) Self-forgiveness. A research team led by Michael Wohl reported that students who forgave themselves after procrastinating in studying for their first exam were less likely to delay studying for the second one.
Whether procrastination is a gap between intention and action, a lack of time management skills, an inability to control moods and emotions, or a complex combination of these and other problems, we should strive to never delay in our obedience to the Lord.
“I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” (Psalm 119:60 / NLT)
Are you a procrastinator? What has worked for you in overcoming this tendency? Please feel free to share your successful tips with others!