I worked in sales when I was in my 20s, and the vice resident of our company bought me a little book to help me in professional development. The title of the book says it all, “Do It Now.”
The book addressed a topic that impacts every leader: procrastination. Leaders procrastinate for a variety of reasons. The task we are putting off may be an unpleasant one, or we may feel inadequate to address it. We may lack clarity on how to approach it, or perhaps it is such a big project that we can’t seem to get started.
The benefits of getting procrastinated items off your plate include peace of mind, a sense of relief when the work is done and being free to move on to other things.
While the reasons we procrastinate are many, there are things we must not procrastinate on. Here are five things we must do now:
1. Apologies: When we mess up, we need to ’fess up. Saying we are sorry when the situation calls for it is something we must do quickly and clearly. A good apology admits the mistake, takes responsibility for the wrong done and the hurt caused, accepts the consequences and changes the behavior. When we discover that an apology is needed, we need to step up and do it.
2. Hard conversations: No one likes to have hard conversations. Hard conversations may include confronting sin in another’s life, addressing a job performance issue, or dealing with a dispute. They are called hard conversations because that’s what they are — hard. Most of us do not relish doing difficult things. However, when we discover that a hard conversation is needed, we need to make plans to have it.
3. Doing the right thing: Someone has said it is always the right time to do the right thing. While it may take time to prayerfully think through what is the right thing to do in a situation, once we know what that is, we need to set the wheels in motion to get it done.
4. Confession of sin: When Nathan confronted King David about his sin with Bathsheba, David did not procrastinate owning up to his sin and confessing it. Psalm 51 is the record of King David’s confession. We too must follow his example regarding our own sin.
5. Saying ‘yes’ to God’s call: I have yet to meet a person who successfully avoided God’s call. We can say no to God, but not without consequences. When God calls, the right response is to say ‘yes.’ We may need to pray, seek counsel and read scripture in order to find clarity, but once we know God is calling us, we do not need to procrastinate. We need to say ‘yes.’
Any of us could add a hundred other things that should not be procrastinated. To overcome procrastination, we need the power of the gospel. Our Lord Jesus Christ moved into every hard conversation and difficult matter perfectly — without procrastinating. As we walk with Him, learn from Him and lean on His power, we can do the same.