Skip to content ↓

Procrastination Is a Failure to Love

I am, for the most part, an organized person. I actually wrote a whole book on productivity in which I laid out the system I used (and still use) to remain organized and, hopefully, effective in what I do. I have begun my days in roughly the same way for many years now, and have found that quick, daily “coram deo” a valuable way of ensuring I’m using my life in the most effective way.

In many ways, this entire system of productivity grew out of my lifelong battle with procrastination. Year after year I struggled to prioritize what was urgent and important over what was easy or fun. I would put off until tomorrow what I ought to do today. Then I would put it off again and again until I was suddenly forced to address it in a state of panic at the last minute. Not surprisingly, this did not often lead to high-quality work.

In the past few weeks I’ve begun to spy procrastination at work in my life once again. It approached quietly, perhaps taking the opportunity to slink in alongside the ongoing nerve issues that have kept me from my usual systems and patterns of work. Or maybe it snuck in with all the travel I’ve been doing and the disruption and fatigue that comes with it. But one way or another I’ve been finding myself putting off until the future what I know I should do today. I’ve been deferring tasks, pushing deadlines, allowing projects to stretch on and on.

This led me to some introspection and then a helpful realization: Procrastination is a failure to love—a failure to love others. And this is exactly what makes procrastination such an ugly and offensive sin. It is inherently self-centered. It is a form of self-love.

All I know and believe about productivity is premised on this: Productivity is effectively using my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. Being productive is not first about increasing my status or wealth or reputation, but about doing good to others which in turn brings glory to God. He is glorified in those actions I take to benefit others; he is not glorified in my selfishness or my failure to love. If I am committing my life to those things that matter most, procrastination is a missed opportunity to love. It is a disruption to other people rather than an encouragement. It promotes my ease at their expense.

I was glad to see this, glad to see that procrastination is that ugly. Now, on those hard days when I face a list of many tasks, or on those days when I know I have to accomplish my least-favorite tasks, I challenge myself to simply love. To do is to love, to procrastinate is to fail to love. (See also 4 Tips for Dealing with Procrastination).

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (March 2)

    A La Carte: The only way out of our desperate hypocrisy / Are Evangelicals too hard on men? / 9 healthy ways to respond to criticism / Is God disappointed with me? / 4 snapshots of dispensationalism today / Logos and Kindle deals / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Help The Persecuted)

    This weeks giveaway is sponsored by Help The Persecuted. Help The Persecuted rescues, restores, and rebuilds the lives of persecuted believers in the Islamic World through spiritual support and tangible help. Every week, they send out an email with specific, real-time prayer requests of persecuted believers to their global Prayer Network. You can join the…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (March 1)

    A La Carte: Rumblings of revival among Gen Z / Addition by subtraction / Seeing red / Burying the talents of the Great Rewarder / Inviting evaluation of your preaching / Book and Kindle deals / and more.

  • New and Notable Books

    New and Notable Christian Books for February 2024

    February is typically a solid month for book releases, and this February was no exception. As the month drew to its close, I sorted through the many (many!) books that came my way this month and arrived at this list of new and notables. In each case, I’ve provided the editorial description to give you…

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (February 29)

    A La Carte: Is it ever right to lie? / When the “perfect” fit isn’t / An open letter to Christians who doubt / When a baby is a disease / The long view of preaching / and more.

  • A Freak of Nature (and Nurture)

    A Freak of Nature (and Nurture)

    We are probably so accustomed to seeing bonsai trees that we don’t think much about them. But have you ever paused to consider how strange and freakish they really are?