Do you ever put things off?
Avoid hard discussions?
Delay your responsibilities?
Even though we don’t want to, we all procrastinate at one time or another because we are either tired, distracted, busy or all of the above. Sometimes we are just plain lazy. Parenting is hard and requires great effort that we can’t always muster up, but the Bible has strong words for us about procrastination in James 4:17 when he warns “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
As parents our children need us to engage with them, for them, and to model a strong work ethic. They need us to counteract that tendency we have towards, as the Bible puts it, slothfulness, sluggishness, and slackness. There are different reasons we procrastinate and therefore different strategies to help.
Procrastination Reason #1: The task seems unpleasant.
Sometimes we decide that whatever we have to do, like washing the dishes or talking about sibling rivalry, is going to be awful, terrible, and absolutely no fun. We make it bigger and more negative than it actually is, so we of course, avoid it.
Procrastination Strategy #1: Evaluate your belief.
The next time you find yourself putting something off, check your thoughts about the task. Is it really that bad? Can you make it more fun by engaging some help from your family, turning on some music, or simply finding a way to make it more enjoyable?
Procrastination Reason #2: I am disorganized.
When our offices are cluttered and our kitchens are a mess, we tend to avoid those areas and the tasks need that to be accomplished there. We also avoid messy situations that involve broken relationships and ugly emotions.
Procrastination Strategy #2: Prioritize.
When our spaces are disorganized, our minds aren’t usually far behind. Disordered thoughts lead to haphazard action and ultimately procrastination. When you feel disorganized, sit down every morning and write out a list of tasks to accomplish. Prioritizing is one of the brain’s most energy-hungry jobs so it needs to be done after a good breakfast and a good night’s sleep. Then rank your list to arrange your day so that the tyranny of the urgent won’t keep you from parenting in an intentional way.
In the same way, prioritize your relationships by confessing quickly, forgiving readily, and not letting the sun go down on your anger.
Procrastination Reason #3: I am overwhelmed.
When we feel like the task is simply too big, we give up, we shut down, and we procrastinate.
Procrastination Strategy #3: Use SMART Goals.
Break your task down into pieces that are smaller—Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Reasonable and Time-bound. “Read one chapter in a parenting book this week” is better than “improve my parenting” because it is specific, measurable and attainable.
The next time you find yourself procrastinating, notice the reason for your delay and ask God to empower you to act. Rely on His strength and His help because it is His work that you are doing.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
By Dale Skram
Mom of four daughters
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach