Step 1: Analyze
Most procrastinators operate without personal accountability for their time. While they may admit to having not planned properly, they usually are unaware of how they spent their time. They only know they didn’t seem to have enough of it. The phrase “look carefully then how you walk” (Eph. 5:15) challenges us to diligently evaluate our use of time. The word carefully is translated in other biblical passages as closely, exactly, accurately. It brings to mind an analytical evaluation, one that focuses on the details, not the generalities. This is helpful counsel for procrastinators. They typically do not think of time in small increments (minutes and hours). They think in terms of days, weeks, or years. The procrastinator lives like someone who is constantly going into debt, because he assumes he’ll make more money later. The compulsive shopper and procrastinator have a similar problem: they are frivolous with a God-given resource. For the spendthrift, it’s about dollars; for the procrastinator, it’s about minutes. The solution for both is to look carefully how they walk. They need to live by a budget. One needs to carefully plan how he’ll spend his money; the other needs to carefully plan how he’ll spend his time.
A few years ago, I found that I was growing increasingly discouraged with events in my life. Each week it felt like Friday came upon me too fast, leaving an ever-increasing mound of unfinished tasks. Those unfinished jobs cluttered my desk and my mind. I felt the emotional weariness that comes from falling further behind. I confessed my struggle to a friend and mentor. He challenged me to keep a journal of my daily activities in 15 minute increments for two weeks. I remember thinking: I don’t have the time to do this! I can’t complete my unfinished projects now and you want me to spend my time recording activities every 15 minutes? But, out of respect for his wisdom I began the process. It was both humbling and revealing. After two weeks I began to see patterns in my life. I discovered areas where I was both unproductive and inefficient. I could also see where some of my relationships were not getting the time they needed, while others—because I hadn’t planned properly—were getting an inordinate amount of time. Having not made priority-based decisions about my time, I was at the mercy of what others viewed as important. At the end of the journaling, I had to admit I was not making the best use of my time—a truth I would not have discovered if I had not taken the time to analyze. Heed the biblical warning: look carefully how you walk. It’s a simple process to get started. Just keep a record of your time.
Taken from Taking Back Time: biblical strategies for overcoming procrastination
Next Week–Step 2: Prioritize