How to Stop Procrastinating

Last May-June, I met with a small group with the intention of writing a group leaders’ guide for Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal. That was a great first step, but then I procrastinated on writing that guide for the rest of the summer. [How to Stop Procrastinating Tip #1 which I unfortunately did not follow for myself but will remember for the next time: Set a deadline with smaller mini-deadlines along the way.] // Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles,
Courtesy of Stuart Miles,

My ideas are percolating, I told myself. It’s such a beautiful day, I’m going for a walk. There’s no time to write now—I’m getting ready for my first trip to the UK. I want to experience as much as I can in London and the surrounding area and savour the time away. [How to Stop Procrastinating Tip #2 – There will always be other great things to do, so front load the day by writing first thing, then do what you want with the rest of the day.]

Then suddenly it was fall—and I’ve still been procrastinating. [How to Stop Procrastinating Tip #3: It’s not about the season—just as any time can get eaten up by procrastination, remember that any time is also a good time to write!] I need to organize my desk first, I told myself. I need to find my desk under all of the papers and books that have gathered over the summer. Between regular ministry and preaching, and keeping some sort of order at home, there’s no time to write now. [How to Stop Procrastinating Tip #4 – Break down a larger project into smaller, more manageable pieces, so even 5 minutes or half an hour can mean progress.]

In the meantime, while I’ve been procrastinating on my writing, I’ve started another Sacred Pauses group. [How to Stop Procrastinating Tip #5: If you’re going to procrastinate on one project, at least use that time to stop procrastinating on something else.] Some of the group from May-June wanted to continue meeting, and others have joined in, so now there are 14 of us meeting together on Thursday evenings.

Now I think I’ve just about run out of excuses, so with this post, I’m officially declaring myself finished procrastinating. [How to Stop Procrastinating Tip #6: Make yourself accountable to others.] Last night’s dishes are still sitting on the kitchen counter, and my desk is still crowded with assorted papers and books, but I’m finally ready to move on to that group leaders’ guide.

I’ll be back on Writer Wednesday to let you know how it went!

Writing/Reflection Prompt: What would you add to my list as How To Stop Procrastinating Tip #7?


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8 thoughts on “How to Stop Procrastinating

  1. Tip#7… Think with sober dread…of how badly it went all those times I ended up cramming to finish projects due to prior procrastination! (A version of shock-treatment/therapy, I suppose?).

    1. That’s a good one! From another blog, I also saw have such a great goal that you know what to do next and feel motivated to do it. If procrastination is a problem, then maybe the goal isn’t the right one..

  2. By giving yourself a public deadline, you’ve just built some accountability into the process that will definitely help you make progress on it this week. It’s a bit like me telling my whole gathered family that I have just taken my LAST potato chip from the bowl. It works.

  3. …excellent point about having a goal so great that it’s motivationally charged. I’m reminded that sometimes ‘good goals’ can get in the way of better goals. Some of my not-as-important goals probably need to be let go of so I can focus better on what’s really important.

    1. Yes, there are so many good things that it’s easy to get over-extended. All the best to you in discerning what to let go of and where to focus your energies. I’m needing to do that too.

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