Picture of phone on Pinterest and Bible with a purple cloud background as header image for post about definition of procrastinate

What’s the Definition of Procrastination? Tell You Later!

     Where should we look if we want the definition of procrastination?  I think the dictionary would be a good place to start!  I don’t have one of those here handy at the moment, so instead of procrastinating until I do, I’ll just run over to a new tab and use an online dictionary.  The trusty old Merriam Webster gives us two great definitions for the word procrastinate.  (If you make it all the way to the end of this post, I’ll have a free gift for you!)

What Is the Real Definition of Procrastination?

 Transitive verb :to put off intentionally and habitually

 Intransitive verb : to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

     Wow!  These definitions are short and to the point (which is my kind of definition), but there is a lot packed into them.  Let’s slowly start unpacking it and see if we can learn something.

     First, why should we even care about the definition of procrastination?  I think this word is quite important because it is very much a part of a vital aspect of our lives: time management.  There aren’t many things more important than how we use our time.  Our time is the most valuable resource that we possess, and none of us have an unlimited amount of it here on earth.  Not only that, but we are each going to give an account before God for how we use our time.

     To me, procrastination is an important topic because it is a weakness of mine.  And I know that I am not alone.  How easy it is to start off the day full of good intentions of what we are going to do and then get sidetracked and find ourselves nearing bedtime without having done even half of them.  There’s probably a couple of problems there, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.  For now, let’s get back to our definition.  I think it’s fascinating, what about you? 

First Definition of Procrastination

 Transitive verb :to put off intentionally and habitually

     We see here that procrastinating is putting things off, but it’s more than that.  It’s putting things off on purpose.  That really makes a point!  We may think that our procrastinating is unintentional, but really we are choosing to put things off. 

     Procrastination is also habitual.  It’s something that we do on a regular basis and make an everyday part of our lives.  Were you thinking that you don’t put things off on purpose as the definition said?  Well, maybe you and I have made procrastination such a habit in our lives that we don’t always notice it.  

Note on computer that says "I need to type several hundred words today and not waste anymore time." This illustrates our post on the definition of procrastination.

Second Definition of Procrastination

 Intransitive verb : to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

     This other definition of procrastination brings out a new aspect.  Not only is procrastination intentional and habitual, but it is also important.  It is important because when we procrastinate we are putting off things that need to be done.

     Don’t be discouraged!  If there is hope for me, then there is most certainly hope for you, and further on in this post we are going to be looking at some ways to combat this habit.  I also have a free printable for you with simple tips on productivity, so keep reading!

Are There Bible Verses About Procrastination?

     Once again I did a quick search; I found a lot of Bible verses that touch on the subject of procrastination.  We’ll just look at a few of them this time.  This post started to become so long that I ended up dividing into two parts, so look for more verses in the sequel to this post!

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Hosea 10:12

     This verse applies to procrastination in our relationships with the Lord.  It says that now it is time to seek the Lord.  It’s so easy to think “Someday I will do better in my walk with the Lord.  Someday I will read my Bible every morning and spend time in prayer.”  Our quiet time with the Lord is key to our relationship with God, which is why Satan puts thoughts like this into our minds.

     Instead of thinking you’ll do something great someday, try thinking, “I’ll spend a few minutes with the Lord this morning.”  When building a habit like this and overcoming procrastination, it is better to start small.  You are still accomplishing more than just thinking about the huge block of time you will spend ‘someday.’  And if you spend a few minutes every day, you may find that it begins to grow as it becomes a habit.

                    I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 9:4

     As we already mentioned, our time on earth is limited.  We don’t get another chance.  God has given each one of us a work, and we need to be doing it now while we have the opportunity.  That work may be small and obscure, but it is still important in the Lord’s eyes.  He doesn’t ask us to do something great; He only asks us to be faithful.

Hand choosing a Pink Floral Bible or a book called The Flower of the Family to illustrate the definition of procrastination.

What Are the Dangers of Procrastination?

     Procrastination is such a common word that we may not really think about how negative it can be.  When we procrastinate, we are limiting our usefulness and making our lives more complicated.

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Proverbs 20:4

     We see here why it is important to not procrastinate.  There will be negative consequences when we do.  Going back to our second definition of procrastination, we see that it is putting off things that should be done.  That doesn’t usually work out very well! 

     While procrastination may seem like the easy and relaxing way out, it is actually the opposite of simple and peaceful living.  When we put things off, then they hang over our heads and build up so that we have to work really hard all at one time.  It is better to pace things a little along and not let them pile up.

     Procrastination causes unnecessary stress.  Do you know how it feels to wake up, write a big to-do list, and then get sidetracked before you even get started?  At the end of the day, you feel beaten down and upset at yourself.  I’ve been there many times, so I know what it’s like.

     I think one thing that can cause procrastination is making too long of a list.  If your list looks overwhelming, it may intimidate you and keep you from starting.  Try making a shorter list that can easily be managed, then you can always do more than what you had on the list.

How Do I Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing?

     I don’t think that there is one simple thing you can do to get over procrastination once and for all.  It is a process, and it takes continual work and prayer.  I for one have not conquered it.  When I needed to be finishing writing this post about procrastination, I instead spent quite a bit of time going through emails first.  I don’t claim to have it all together, but I am happy you are joining me on my journey as I learn and seek to grow in the Lord.  

     There is hope for each one of us!  Taking small steps can make a huge difference, and we are going to talk about some things that we can do.

Hand holding phone. A phone can definitely be an area where we stumble with procrastination.

1. Set a timer

     Instead of just starting in on a job or planning to start, set a timer.  Tell yourself that you are going to work on the job until the timer goes off.  If it is a short job that can be done all at one sitting, you might want to set a timer for a bit longer than you think you will need and try to get done before the timer goes off.  Another timer tip is to set a timer when you are relaxing or doing something less profitable so that you don’t get sucked in and waste a lot of time. 

2. Cut out an activity

     These next 2 tips are compliments of my very productive sister.  She has a busy schedule but still takes time to enjoy the little things!  If you have an activity that pulls you in and that is what you usually do when you procrastinate, then you might want to think about giving it up for a little while.  If you take that activity out of your life for a bit, it may lose some of its hold on you and be easier to control when you start back.

3. Use activities as rewards

     You might want to use this tip as a follow-up to the first one.  If there is something that you find yourself doing when you should be doing other things, try using that as a reward.  Make a goal and complete that, and then take a little time to do something you enjoy.  Remember, avoiding procrastination isn’t about working all the time.  It is about doing the important things first so that you can relax instead of feeling stressed and behind.

Pinterest pin that says Help! I can't stop procrastinating and has a picture of a coffee mug and clock to use to save this post about the definition of procrastination

What Will You Do to Avoid Procrastination?

Simple Takeaway

     It is time for our simple takeaway.  We are just going to have one this time.  I would like to challenge you to pick one of the three tips that you can start doing today to begin to overcome procrastination.  If you’re like me, then you know how it is to hear some advice and think “That’s really good; I should do that.”  And that’s about as far as it ever goes.  Let’s start today and not procrastinate it into never happening!

 A Gift For You!

     Thank you for coming all the way to the end of the post.  I have a gift for you!  Just enter your name and email address, and I will send you the password to the free resource library where you can get your 7 SIMPLE Productivity Tips and more!!

     If you are already signed up, you may have the password.  If not, it doesn’t hurt anything if you sign up again!

 

Let’s Chat!

      What is something that you procrastinate on?  Do you think one of these tips would help you get it done?  

     Don’t wait!  If there is one thing that has been hanging over your head, start on it today.  With the Lord’s help, you can do whatever He calls you to!!

In Christ,

Bethany

 

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4 Comments

  1. Love this! I am still working to overcome procrastination, but I do praise the Lord for victories along the way! I am so grateful when HE gives me help to choose to do the things that need to be done.

    1. Yes, I am slowly learning to overcome in the strength of the Lord. He has shown me that it makes such a big difference when I do things instead of putting them off and letting them get overwhelming. It makes life much more peaceful and profitable! Thank you so much for commenting, Micah!!

  2. Grace says:

    Great post, Bethany! I really liked the title 😉 I especially love how you’re building your brand, even though that has nothing to do with your post. XD
    I am learning to overcome procrastination, too. It is funny how we make intentional one time, subconsciously discover we like it in some way, and keep doing it. I do that with house work… :p Not a fan, but if I don’t get the hang of it now, the heart of my husband may not safely trust in me. And that isn’t good.

    1. Thank you, Grace! I enjoy comments about the aesthetic of the blog as well as the content. 🙂 Yes, it is great to learn good habits while we are younger because we can benefit from them longer, and it’s easier. And I know the Lord wants to help us use our time wisely!!

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