I have so much to do – I had so many goals to finish this year, that just went by the by. One of my biggest issues is procrastination – if something isn’t fun, if it doesn’t capture my creative fancy then I simply put it off. I like the idea of calling it artistic-go-with-the-flow but really it is a lack of character.
One of the things that I have noticed as we have intentionally taught and encouraged our kids to make right responses (character) is that you can usually apply more than one character based response to any given situation. Take this issue of procrastination – I could work on my self-control, on thoroughness or on determination.
And probably working on all three would give me a good result. But at the moment I’m focusing on Determination. Here is my blog post to myself, in the hope that as I think on this character based response I will get things done!
Determination is: Deciding to accomplish the right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition.
1-Determination is based on a decision. I need to decide. I need to decide in my heart what is important to me. If something is just a good idea, if it someone else’s idea then I won’t have the moral conviction to carry me through. I must decide what is important to me.
2-Determination is based on knowing what the right goals are. This is an extension of deciding – I need to decide which tasks are important. There is no benefit of being focused on completing the wrong tasks. That is just a distraction looking good!
3-Determination is based on being aware of the distractions and oppositions. It is easy to blame other people for distracting me but the reality is distractions and opposition come from within me.
Procrastination isn’t always an issue of being lazy and doing nothing. It is more often about putting off for another day and filling your today day with something else. My days are full – but not necessarily full of the right thing. This is where the aspect of doing the right thing, at the right time, comes into it. We must know what it is we are supposed to be doing at any given time.
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Working with Determination
We cannot suddenly develop the habit of responding with determination just because we’ve made a decision to do so. Any habit is developed by setting a course of action, and consistently practicing or walking in that course. Whenever we need to replace one habit (that of procrastination for example) with a new habit (that of determination for example) we need to know what to set aside, what to work towards, we need to know what are the obstacles or distractions and we need to know how we are going to deal with them. By thinking these things through we have some substance to work with rather than just the idea of ‘being determined’. Changing our responses to circumstances (or people) is more than just the power of positiveness – we can think through what actions we need to take to walk consistently with our values.
I like to set goals for different spheres of my life – this helps me clear my head. What goals do I have, what tasks do I need to work on. From these lists I can work out what is urgent, what is important and what can wait.
2-Do the next thing
Being overwhelmed often leads to doing nothing. Once I’ve sorted through what it is that needs to be done (step 1) – all I need to do is – do the next thing!
Knowing how your body works is a helpful thing here too – if we can match a task with the best time for our body then we will have the best success. I will do housework, exercise, and thinking tasks better in the morning – the earlier the better. Knowing this can help me make the most of the time I do have available. What works for me won’t work for everyone – we need to know what works best for us and use that knowledge in planning our day.
3- Deal with those distractions
Just as we can know the best time to do something, we can also know the things that distract us. By being honest and identifying those things we can make a plan to avoid those things or situations. For example – writing my devotional journal on the same computer as I do my writing and social networking is setting myself up for distraction.
Doing good things can also be a distraction from doing the right thing. This is easy for a people orientated person to fall into – connecting with people is a good thing, right – but not always the right thing for this particular time. Sometimes we have to do the task in front of us!!
Other internal things also distract me:
- When things are too hard I procrastinate.
- When I have too much on my plate I burry my head in the sand (at least for a little while).
- Being tired is often used as an excuse (it may be true, but I can also do something about it most times).
- When I really don’t want to do something – I lack the oomph to get me there!
Let others know my goals, my struggles, and my plan! Be accountable.
Well, other than the fact that I’m telling you all – my family are very aware of my struggles and my desire to do ‘better’ in this area.
One of the things I enjoy with having older children is that they are as much on my side as I am on theirs – they get along side of me and encourage me and support me just like I have done for them over the years.
5- No excuses
It is easy to see when we make excuses or blame other people or circumstances for our failings but doing so won’t help us grow. Instead we need to accept things for what they are – I haven’t done what I wanted to do – so be it! No excuses. Accept responsibility. Move on.
Being determined is as much about dusting myself off and trying again as it is about doing it in the first place.
So here I am – I am determined to get my to-do list under control! No more procrastinating, distractions, or blaming circumstances!
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