rebelling against low expectations

How do you beat procrastination and get stuff done?


KAIRA WRITES: Procrastination and lack of focus has always been a huge battle for me, and now that I’m in high school, it’s starting to become a huge problem.

I have the type of personality that doesn’t do well flitting from one thing to another, but lately I can’t seem to focus. I’ll crack down on what I’m currently procrastinating with, but find something else with which to waste my time. I’d love practical tips or encouragement.

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  • I struggle with the same thing. In fact, to the point where it sometimes causes depression.

    I find that just like any other temptation, we need God’s help to fight it. Just like the temptation to lust or to covet, it is not an easy thing to fight. I believe for some, it’s harder then others, but everyone is faced with it.
    So, my best answer would be prayer and memorizing scripture on laziness and such.

    But, I do have the same question, so what do the rest of y’all think?

  • Something that I know helps is to have a friend that doesn’t procrastinate.

    P.S. Does anyone think that I comment too much? I have always tried not to just speak my mind on everything, but lately it seems like I have been doing it more. Anyways, if anyone ever thinks I do comment too much just let me know, because I might not notice it.

    • Unfortunately most of my school work is on the computer, so that won’t work. Although for non school related tasks it might.

      • Same here, but I meant like, FB and email and other social media stuff. It’ so easy for me to get distracted by all that and so much harder to buckle down and get it done.

  • I often ask myself, “What am I doing?” and “Why am I doing it?” Some things are worth my time and others are just being used to avoid that which I do not want to do. When I find I’m wasting time on something like Facebook, I pray through, why am I doing this? It’s usually to clear my mind from the stress I put on myself as a wife and mother. What’s happened is I’ve created a to do list that is impossible and does not include the Lord as my helper. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The yoke that is too much for me to handle is of my own, or the enemy’s, creation. I find that sometimes when I’m procrastinating, the thing that I think I must do is actually not that important. (see Busywork from Pilgrim’s Progress)

    On the other hand, there are things God has asked me to do that I avoid, but I am learning to repeat: “There’s nothing to it but to do it!” Whatever I’m afraid of in regards to that task (making a personal phone call or cleaning a back closet) is smaller than the monkey that resides on my back while I’m not answering His call.

    It is also very helpful to use daily checklists. My oldest daughter is in her 4th semester of online classes through a local University. Staying motivated in online classes is extremely difficult! Her solution is a Google Calendar for each class. She creates ‘To Do’ items for each day. A lot of times some items get moved to the next day, but she does always turn assignments in on time. When she creates the calendars she builds it to finish things early, so she has wiggle room if the reading takes longer than she anticipated or something.

    One last thought, allow room for small rewards throughout the day or week. At our house, this might mean 15 minutes on Minecraft after a successful math assignment is completed. And I always look forward to “Date Night” on Thursdays, but only if all the laundry is folded and put away first. (It’s just a movie in our room while the kids clean up from supper and put the little’s to bed, but it’s a great break for me!)

    I hope this helps. Keep up the good work!!

    • Guys, I’ve actually been procrastinating my French project for 20 mins AGAIN, and actually came here for advice….

      • That’s cool, so it was like, message from God at the right timing? Sorry, I’ll let you get to your French stuff… πŸ˜‰ Good luck!

        • Thank you! ;P
          Actually, I’m almost finished! I turned off all of the notifications from my tablet and my phone, and it was easier to focus than I thought, especially with French pop music playing! Thank you, though!!

          • πŸ˜€ Great! What was the project about, anyway? when you have time to talk–Didn’t know there was such a thing as French pop music.
            And you’re welcome!

          • I have to type up two brochures (completely in French, by the way) about two different jobs for the lower level French class (that is combined with mine) to read at the “Job Fair” our classes are going to have tomorrow. It’s a pain, but it’s actually slightly intriguing. (I picked Singer and Private Detective, anyways hahaha).
            YES! There IS French pop music, same as in the US! Just not as popular because it is, in fact, almost always in French. (However, there’s a group called Arcade Fire from Canada who does sing parts of their songs in French, but don’t get me STARTED on them, since I’m just a bit of a fanatic.)
            Some songs on my French playlist include:
            Derniere Danse by Indila
            Sur Ma Route by Black M
            Elle Me Ditby MIKA
            Fierte by Team BS (my personal favorite)
            Place de la Republique by Coeur De Pirate
            Comme Des Enfants by Coeur De Pirate
            Papaoutai by Stromae (but Pentatonix has also done a fantastic cover of this)
            I highly recommend all of these song, even though some are too fast or too complicated for me to comprehend. But it’s American music pretty much the same some of the time??
            Happy listening!
            I need to run to my SECOND rehearsal of the night.

          • That’s sounds really interesting. What do you mean by lower level French class? Like, the cast system in Hindu India is what that reminds me of. I like the jobs you picked, both are intriguing. Do the people in France listen to the French pop music? Is it popular there?
            I will look up Arcade Fire sometime in the next couple days, the band name is intriguing. I kind of skipped through the song titles, them being in a different language. Would I find them on Youtube, you think?
            Pentatonix is extremely talented, I think.
            American music is too fast sometime, yes. What do you mean by complicated?
            P.S. What are you rehearsing?

          • Oh, my French 4 class wasn’t big enough to be it’s own class, so we’re combined with the French 3 class, but Madame SOMEHOW seems to manage it!
            Hahaha yessss people in France listen to French pop music. And any other music, too! They listen to a lot of American music, too, and sometimes prefer that.
            Arcade Fire is fantastic. I can’t even recommend just ONE song to you! My friend and I think that they’re secretly Christian in their lyrics, just like Twenty-One Pilots (a band from Ohio, where my friend goes to college now).
            I loveeeee Pentatonix! I follow just about everything they do!!
            And complicated just by the meanings, and sometimes how it’s just difficult to hear, understand, and comprehend.
            And about my rehearsal, my first one was for my school’s musical Legally Blonde, and the second was for my choir. We’re doing a ton of Latin, Italian, and Spanish this year. And we ALWAYS perform the Messiah

          • (Sorry, wouldn’t let me type more!!)
            We ALWAYS perform Handle’s Messiah choruses, which means that since I learned Soprano the last two years, I’m “lucky” enough to learn Alto. Hmmmmm.
            At least I’ll have that under my belt when I go to college 😝

          • Oh, ok. πŸ˜€
            I remember Selena Gomez did a Girl Meets World and talked about going to France once.
            Never heard of Twenty-One Pilots, will have to look them up.
            Yeah, Pentatonix, actually their arrangements are incredible. They remind me of Straight No Chaser.
            Ok. I guess music hasn’t seemed complicated to me, but, yeah, I can get where you’re coming from.
            That’s actually really fun sounding! My family watched Legally Blonde–once. It was pretty funny, but with a few fast-forward parts. It’s so cool you’ll be in the musical! Hope you have fun!
            One year I did a Latin song for our Christmas contada–dona nobis pacem, I think it was called. Beautiful song, as there were three of us singing melody, harmony, etc. It was really cool.

          • Check out “Holding Onto You” by Twenty-One Pilots, especially. My friend and I think it’s secretly a Christian song! I also love “Forest” and “Trees” by them, as well.
            I really like Straight No Chaser! Such a great group (:
            The musical Legally Blonde is actually kinda different from the movie, from what I’ve heard. I’m not gonna see the movie til after I’m done with the show, though!
            About Dona Nobis Pacem: I did that song, too! I think it was about 4-7 concerts ago (I do two a year….yikes!), so it’s been a long time, but I remember the piece! It’s gorgeous!

          • Will do, thanks, Kathleen! They are good, and I am really impressed by their arrangements.
            πŸ˜€ Loved the song, even despite it being hard to learn to sing.

          • Cool, I’ll need to find some of those songs. I’ve listened to Derniere Danse, but haven’t heard of the others. I’m taking French as well.

          • My favorite out of the list I typed up is actually FiertΓ©, but DerniΓ¨re Danse is a close second!

    • wow that’s a great idea. and it is true in everday life satan can distract you from what’s important. and yeah i find that i do that to i get distracted just because i’m stressed out and don’t want to do whatever i have to do.

  • For me, it helps getting it done and over with. It also does good if you have someone to keep you accountable for your work. Last week for example, I had to write an essay on Jane Eyre. I started late on the week it was due (It was assigned the week before and it was due Thursday). I finished writing it on paper and I told my mom I would type it up on Wednesday and turn it in the next day. She didn’t like me doing that, so I typed it on the same day I finished and printed at school and turned it in on Wednesday (my printer was low on ink). The point is, I thought I could get it done at the last minute, but thanks to my mom, I put in the extra effort and turned it in early. Friends and family can help keep us accountable for our commitments.

  • Ah, this is one of my worst vices. I am a huge procrastinator.
    I think that part of the problem for teenagers (and pretty much everyone) in this day and age is that there are so many distractions. Facebook, Twitter, email, Google, and so many other sources on the internet call out, “See this, do that.” And most often, a person finds him/herself wasting time doing nothing useful or enriching. I’m still struggling with the solution to this problem. For me, it helps to do the subject I dislike the most. I will also sometimes reward myself, but that is a somewhat dangerous thing to do if you’re not completely done with everything you need to do. For example, if you reward yourself for finishing a tough assignment by doing something you enjoy, that enjoyable activity can distract you from what you need to do next. Otherwise, I think that you could achieve a lot with the right mindset. Think to yourself, “I have this much time and I will get these things done today.” Normally, I have to be pretty tough with myself and lecture myself to keep at it. (yes, I argue with my good self and bad self. Does anyone else do this?)
    As with all other areas of life, procrastination cannot be overcome without God’s help.

  • This probably isn’t that helpful but I find there’s no easy way. I mean, I put the pro in procrastination but most the time the only way to beat it is just do it. It takes a lot of disciplinebut it can be done. Slowly. Over time.
    It also helps to remember that we’re doing all for the glory of God and putting off what we’re supposed to be doing in favour of something else… well, is that really glorifying God?

  • One thing that has helped me is recognizing that self-control is a limited commodity. Research shows that resisting temptation actually drains our self-control, indicating that we should use self-control to flee temptation, rather than stand there and fight it (which is what the Bible tells us to do anyway).

    How does this apply to procrastination? Well, you can only resist the temptation to check Facebook, read your new emails, and respond to text messages for so long. Even someone with a lot of self-control will eventually drain themselves.

    Not only that, but research also shows that simply resisting temptation drains the brain of mental energy. Even if you don’t give in to the temptation to procrastinate, simply fighting the urge will hinder your productivity.

    So what can we do? My solution is to use my self-control to remove temptations. I turn off my phone (or leave it in the other room), block the Internet and email with an app called (whaddya know?) Self-Control, and make other adjustments that greatly reduce my opportunities to get distracted.

    I find when I do this that I feel more peaceful as I work β€” which is probably because my brain can focus exclusively on the task at hand, rather than having to expend energy resisting the beckoning call of easily accessible distractions.

  • I think the three things that help me most are:
    1) Like alana said, accountability. Being homeschooled, I love it when I have a friend to do school alongside me, because it’s a lot harder to go browsing G+ when you have a friend who can see what you’re doing! I probably don’t utilise the accountability of family enough, but I think that’s probably something that would help.
    2) Set goals. I know it helps me when I say to myself, “Right, I’m going to get my psychology done by this time {twenty minutes/forty-five minutes/whatever hence}” and then just knuckle down and do it. Race the clock, set a timer, whatever you have to do to put a goal in place and make it measurable.
    3) As a few other people have said, just switching off everything you don’t need! If I really need to get something done, I close down my emails, make sure I don’t have G+ (for many of you it would be FB or something else) up, put my iPod on the other side of the desk and get to it.

  • I struggle a lot with this. As a home schooled student, I have to be disciplined, otherwise I’ll never get anything done. I’ve always been really good with that, but this year, my senior year, it feels like I’ve forgotten how to focus. I end up working from morning to night (or early morning, in some cases) because I just can’t focus on my work.
    I haven’t totally figured it out yet, but there is something that helps. I want to live my life for God, and every day, I pray that I will be able to. Sometimes, the thought of living for God seems like this grand, all-important thing; which, of course, it is, but I often forget that living for God doesn’t just apply to the big and seemingly important things. It applies to the things we do everyday, whether these things be exciting or mundane. I remind myself of this every day, because it helps me realize that something as simple as focusing on my schoolwork is an act of worship. It’s an act of giving that part of my life to Him and living it as He wants me to.
    God bless!

  • I have found that little rewards help me. I’ll finish an assignment then give myself a set amount of time to check Facebook, Instagram, etc. or get up and leave the room to get a snack. Sometimes I’ll actually set a timer and force myself to get back to work when my time is up. Like Brett said, self-control can only last so long, so I “reward” my work with Facebook or just some non-schoolwork related activity.

  • I don’t know if I would call myself a Pentecostal, but my family pretty much agrees with everything you just said.

  • It was a really good book! So many of the stories stuck with me even these years after I’ve read it.
    My family’s reformed theology, and we believe everything you just specified, including the part about Pentecost.
    What is it you believe about the Holy Spirit and baptism thereof? Unless you didn’t want to get into that, which if it’s controversial, I understand. Promise I won’t get into an argument or debate over it. πŸ˜€
    And actually I knew Pentecostals and charismatics weren’t the same thing. Don’t know how I knew that.

    • I’ve actually just read that, “Most [Pentecostal] church bodies practice a form of church government similar to baptists.” That’s interesting. “Pentecostals in the strict sense view speaking in tounges as the initial evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit, Charismatics accept tounges but don’t view it as the only initial evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

      That defines Pentecostals in general, but then there is my church. We sing hymns (and I love them), and southern gospel, like The Blood Of Jesus, and At Calvary. We do not sing “Christian” contemporary, or “Christian” rock, our musicians consist of a piano, organ, keyboard, two trumpets, a saxaphone, and a clarinet. We are not associated with Assemblies Of God. The Pastor, Pastor Jerry preaches from the Bible (KJV), and you are encouraged to bring a Bible. Ohh yeah, almost forgot, we lift our hands in worship and praise to God.
      If you are interested in what Pastor Jerry’s preaching is like I would really encourage you to visit the website on my profile, it’s, in fact, our churches website. Pastor does a 1 minute daily devotion, a 5 minute daily devotion, and a 15 minute radio show. We also have Pastor Mark, who does a 5 minute devotion. Our services are all available to watch (check out our recent baptism service), and on Sunday morning or evening you can watch it live. Are you sold yet?

      P.S. Let me know if you check it out.

      • That’s funny because I recently started using the NKJV instead of the KJV. Just curious, are you a southern baptist? And what views do you hold to that are different than mine, cause I thought Pentecostal and Baptist were basically the same?

  • I agree that removing temptation is a great way to avoid procrastination. I also think that staying organized is a good way to avoid it. I do school online, so I don’t have a teacher reminding me to get my work done 24/7. I keep an agenda and write down about two classes to do schoolwork for everyday, and I’m usually done by Thursday. I try to remind myself of the rewards of getting my work done (such as getting to relax on Fridays or getting to hang out with my friends,) which motivates me.

  • These are all great comments! In case this might help some more, here’s
    a link to a free eBook from College Plus on β€œ9 Ways to Kill Procrastination
    Right Now”:
    Some of the eBook’s ideas are already in the comments here, but the
    eBook also has other tips on beating procrastination. Hope it helps!

  • This is something that I struggle with pretty much around the clock. So much so, that I am currently on certain restrictions during the school week so that I will actually accomplish things. I think the thing I find the most helpful to bust procrastination is to tell myself that even small things (e.g., not laying in bed for 2 extra minutes, staying focused until the project is completely done, etc.) can be glorifying to God. That I can glorify God in every single infinitesimal thing that I do. Yeah, I still struggle with it, but this is the best thing that works for me. I hope this is helpful!

    • Make a calendar. As soon as homework is assigned write it on. I use one big calendar with a different color marker for each class.

  • Sorry, but just wanted to say this but has anybody noticed that you guys are talking to Trent and he hasn’t even commented yet? I think Trent ditched us. =D

  • A way that I deal with procrastination is I make a list of all my homework, then when I write the due dates next to the assignment, I always put the due date a day earlier than its actually due that way I know I will always have it done on time.

  • I’m a BIG procrastinator. I will literally get projects done for school the night before it’s due. I find myself getting involved with other things that I later find completely not necessary. What I do to help me remember is pray. God shows me what needs to be done at the moment, and I feel so productive and happy!

rebelling against low expectations

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