Procrastination : The Real Killer Of Becoming

Many procrastinators I know(including myself) are very capable people who had been praised for their intelligence or ability to organize and accomplish. Have you incorrectly misinterpreted that as a sign that you don't need to have structure for your brain's daily activities, and don't need to give it the proper respect and exercise that it requires and deserves. So they neglect it - let it run wild on the internet, Facebook and games (the mental equivalent of junk food), and allow it to lapse into a vicious cycle of wanting to do but never accomplishing and inevitably self loathing.
I always wanted to write a book. In fact, I had a high school English teacher, named Mrs. Brown who said that she hoped I would write books one day. She was tough, her subjects were tough to master, and she demanded excellence. She challenged me and I accepted it as respect. I wish that I could say that I had kept the discipline in my own life that she inspired. The army did the same for me. In fact, the army saved me from a do-nothing life, but even that could not keep me from cycling into procrastination. Seminary challenged me and then ministry, but there were to many family distractions that I allowed to lead me to failure. I then had a reasonably successful business life, but even there I had lapsed into procrastination at times because of bad decision-making and family matters that kept me distracted. 
Are there things you know that must change in your life for you to become successful at what you desire? Do often find yourself distracted when you really most want to concentrate on accomplishing something? Is your life situation conducive to becoming all you can be or do you fear change so you procrastinate critical decisions? 
Your brain adapts to, and then perpetuates, the habits to which it is constantly exposed. That fact doesn't work in your favor right now if you are in the midst of a procrastination cycle, but you can change that. My suggestions:
1) Structure your time. By scheduling your daily activities, you provide a motivation to be present and diligent for your responsibilities. Plus, this will discourage the huge, unhealthy blocks of surf time that arise when you don't plan your time out ahead. As far as skill acquisition like studying goes, I recommend reading about and adopting solid time management methods. You may also want to invest in a timer, set your smart phone alarm and add notes of things to accomplish each hour you want to work, use a daily planner with hourly updates for things you want to accomplish, or a computer program that acts like one, so you can monitor how much time you're actually spending plugged in, and hold yourself accountable for it in the future.
This tip also extends to structuring your sleep schedule. Going to bed late because you find something interesting to distract your real need of sleep and early rising is a very hurtful practice. If you are a Twitter, Google, Facebook, or Pintrest enthusiast, learn to pull the plug, even when you don't feel like you want to stop, and get your 6-8 hours a night. It does wonders for your self-control, self-image, and your presence in real life as opposed to inside your head. Rise early, read Psalms, Proverbs, or some inspirational devotion that will motivate you to excellence. The BIG BENEFIT IS LESS INTERNAL STRESS!

2) Figure out why you procrastinate. Procrastination is a type of experiential avoidance that causes itself through an unwillingness to deal with uncomfortable emotions, or unpleasant situations, at your own personal detriment. Personally, I was an internet gaming addict because I wanted to avoid confronting my anxiety, family situation, low self-esteem, and feelings of helplessness, and losing myself in my computer provided an avenue where I could feel somewhat 'in control'. Of course that is a terrible illusion you sell yourself, because you find you don't have enough time in a day. Your relationships to people that really matter and encourage you to excellence are strained. It's different for everyone, but this attitude is rather common nowadays. You owe it to yourself to be honest about what it is you're procrastinating from, and why you fell into the habit. It may take some reflection. Most of all it will take making hard choices to bring about change!

3) Learn to tolerate, or even enjoy, putting time and effort into your work. Many Internet users in general, have been conditioned into believing that truly intelligent people don't need to work hard at what they do. I was one such dumb-ass, and since I breezed through my high school and college subjects so easily, I deluded myself into thinking I didn't need to study all  that hard and that cramming was enough. Then real life failures came along and punched me in the face. Life is full of unpopular decisions to make. Some we may fail at the first time, but you never accept defeat as the final solution.
You may, presently, also believe that you are smart enough not to study whatever it is you want to master. Don't kid yourself anymore. That's your brain talking, spoiled by lack of discipline and fattened up on things that really don't matter, helping you to choose a social life over the hard work necessary to be a success at living, trying to sweet-talk you into not eating broccoli and having ice cream instead. You've got to be a tough-love parent to yourself, and make sure you learn to eat and enjoy your life-vegetables.

4) Incentivize your productivity. You are your own Role Playing Game hero. Procrastinators have a problem with wanting instant gratification of their feelings-so instead of knuckling down to what has to be done-they choose delay tactics and make excuses for themselves. Technology addicts, specifically, are driven to surf by the easy 'accomplishment' feeling from learning tidbits of trivia or home-making they will no longer use, or perfecting their their Call Of Duty scores. This is an easier way for your brain to create and savor small hits of dopamine than confronting real-life responsibilities -responsibilities that are harder, more time-consuming, and that give less obvious, more ambiguous rewards.

You can combat this addiction by substituting it. Many recovering procrastinators come to see themselves as their own Role Playing Game player-character. They choose to accomplish small tasks toward their bigger goal and reward themselves on a limited basis. Remember you have accomplished your goals until you are fully free of procrastination of the things that must be done.
The main thing about this mindset is that you need to invest in your personal development in terms that your tech-addicted brain is already familiar with. Think about this - if you were playing the Sims, and your Sim self needed to go to work but was playing computer games instead, would you let him stay at his laptop? NO!!!!

5) You are not going to like the change in lifestyle. It is going to feel too difficult maybe even impossible to accomplish. Accept it and power through it anyway. Procrastination is a drug, just as addicting as any other drug. The emotions that an addict suffers through while quitting are sweet siren calls, seductively beseeching you to slam your ship into the rocks. Your brain is used to the bad habits you have developed. It likes those habits. It doesn't want you to stop. It will present you with thoughts that tempt you to break your combo and forsake your willpower.
The truth is that you are not your habits. You are not your thoughts. They are the many drops of water in the ocean that you are sailing in. The waters may be stormy and fickle, and may, without the force of your will, push you into shipwreck after shipwreck. It may seem easier just to let your ship be tossed wherever the follies of your brain take it. But it is your duty to captain your ship, especially in harder waters, and wrest yourself back on course with gritted teeth and the knowledge that you are stronger than the storm.

6) Choose to hang with people that want success in life and are willing to toughen themselves to accomplish. People that talk about their terrible lives but choose to do nothing but complain are people who will hold you back from being what God wants you to be. Your life matters. If you are a Christian, God's gift to you was life in Christ, what you do with it is your gift to Him! Jesus was a doer, not a talker. People that say they want change but are not willing to make the hard changes are living a lie and dragging you down with them. Choose this day whom  you will serve...a full productive life or a life filled with wishes but little to no real accomplishment. Productive people have less stress and have more to offer others who are wanting to make their lives successful. Procrastinators talk a big game but only end up wanting and never doing!


Ecclesiastes 3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peaceNew Year's Day 2014...what do you want? What are willing to do to get there?
New Year's Day 2014 has passed. What are you willing to do to get there-to become who and what you want to be?
Happy New Year and see you next blog,
Ted

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