i don’t mean to brag, but i’m a little bit famous. infamous, that is, for pulling all nighters the day before a heavy 10+ page paper is due and writing the whole thing in the span of one sleepless, anxiety filled, crying tears of exhausted joy when i finally get to hit the ‘print’ button night. i’ve been doing this since high school. and all throughout first year, second year, third year, fourth year university. it’s kind of ridiculous. i always say i’m going to stop and that this time is the last time, but nothing ever changed. i just grew more confident in my ability to do things last minute and make deadlines by a hair. in fact, i felt kind of proud of this, like ‘yeah that’s right. i can do this all in one day. i can and i did.’ but since coming to korea, i’ve started re-thinking my attitude towards procrastination. this is because of two things:
1) galatians 4:22-23 says this: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ i was reflecting on this verse and i realized that self-control is actually a fruit of the Spirit. it grows and ripens and becomes whole by being in and with the Spirit of God. i’ve always focused solely on the ‘self’ part of self-control, thinking in my mind that i need to try harder, be more diligent, exercise all my power from the very core of my being to just be more self-controlled, dang it! but actually. it is fully realized in relationship. so i began to pray, like this: ‘hello Spirit. please teach me to be more disciplined and grow your fruit of self-control in me. i want to know you more deeply.’
2) it is the year of wisdom at new philadelphia church and right before i started attending service there, pastor christian and erin did a series on time management. i thought ‘well that is for me’ and went hunting through the podcast on itunes to find one that might be helpful for me. and lo and behold i found one titled overcoming procrastination and i thought ‘well that is also for me’ and i listened to the whole thing while i was on the bus going to my grandparents’ house. for those of you who are interested, the sermon is also on youtube. i highly recommend, especially if you are a procrastinator like me:
one of the main points that stuck out to me was how being a procrastinator is not my identity. i need to stop speaking it over myself and embracing it as part of me because it’s not. i am not a procrastinator. i am procrastinating and have been since i was in eighth grade and all i wore were mickey mouse t-shirts and one pair of sneakers, but it’s not who i am. i will not be identified as a procrastinator any longer!
in light of these two revelations regarding my identity and wanting to fellowship deeper with the Spirit, i have miraculously begun to get things done, not only on time, but early. i’ve started to do what i need to do when i need to do it. it’s amazing. it’s exhilarating. productivity makes me feel like i’m breathing on top of a mountain (not an obscenely high altitude mountain where you can’t breathe at all, but one where when you get to the top you take a big lungful of mother nature’s freshest air and it fills you). i shared this with my mentor and friend jacqueline who celebrated with me and said, ‘remember to have grace for yourself.’ and i said ‘oh yeah grace sure.’ but i’m really glad she said this to me because habits of 20+ years don’t just break over night. you have to fight for it and sometimes you slip right back into what you had always done, but it’s ok. it doesn’t change the fact that you can overcome.
some things i’m learning from embracing my identity as a non-procrastinator:
– my mind was so used to believing that i had to get everything done in one day that even now, i sometimes believe that not procrastinating means finishing my entire assignment that’s due on friday on tuesday. so i go through the same anxiety filled, typing from morning to night routine on tuesday and i get it done early, but i do it in the same unhealthy way that i’ve always done. i realized, though, that i don’t have to get it all done in one day. i can write a page today and a page tomorrow and take one step at a time until i find myself all done, right in time for friday. wow. this set me free. i can take it one step at a time and it is o k !
– writing one sentence and then checking my facebook for ten minutes and then writing another three words and scrolling through my instagram is not good. the little bursts of social media that i get from these breaks makes my ability to focus drop even more because there is no focus required to look at people’s pictures and status updates. it’s like if i was going for a run and i stopped every two minutes to eat a slice of pizza. the pizza will slow me down from what i really need to be doing because it not only takes away time, but it directly attacks my energy level and ability to run. i feel like i’m turning my brain off more and more when i pause my work to go on social media because it makes it even harder for me to return to what i need to do. social media trains my mind to focus for only a few seconds at a time so when i go back to my work, that’s the mindset i’m returning with. it has the opposite effect on my brain that i want it to and puts it in a glazed unfocused state that i need it to not be in. sometimes i have to go so far as to shut down my internet connection or leave my phone in another room because honestly, if it’s accessible to me i can be like an addict, especially in the face of work that is necessary and difficult to do.
anyway, this post turned out to be much longer than i had anticipated. i guess procrastination is a subject that is close to my heart because clearly, i have a lot to say about it. haha. it can be overcome!!!