I am a horrible procrastinator. It is an odd thing, really. It can be something I dislike or something I really enjoy. It can be a huge time-consuming project or a quick and easy task. Whatever the case, my automatic tendency is to put it off for later. When I am focused, I am able to stop myself and mentally process that there is no reason to put off things that can be done now. In those moments, I see just how ridiculous procrastination is. Somehow, though, those rational moments are not the norm for me.
Two personal projects stand before me right now. Okay, so there are more than two, but these two come to mind specifically. The first is the task of sorting pictures. I love to take pictures, and I have two digital cameras at my disposal. My preferred camera is a Kodak Doug bought for me six years ago. Compared to more current cameras, its resolution isn’t top-notch. But, it takes good, stable pictures, and the color quality is usually really good for this far from professional camera-happy mom. It has a 1 GB card that can hold a good number of pictures, and when it was my only camera I often found myself overwhelmed by the 750 or so pictures that needed to be sorted and saved each time I found myself with a full card and an unusable camera.
Then we received a little Fuji for review purposes last year. It’s a higher-resolution camera, but it is by nature not quite as steady as the Kodak and it often gives the pictures an orange color. The crazy thing about this camera, though, is that it has a 4 GB card. Even with the higher resolution pictures, I can fit a whole lot more pictures on that card than on the Kodak’s card. The Kodak will not even support a card bigger than 1 GB! So, when the Kodak card fills up, I can still fall back on the Fuji without having to worry about a full card.
I have been telling myself for months that I need to get the pictures from both cameras sorted. I transfer pictures frequently to the computer, so I have them both on the computer and on the camera just in case something happens to one location or the other. But before I delete them off the camera, I like to get the pictures sorted into child and date-appropriate folders on the computer and saved in a couple of locations. Yes, I’m an organizational nut. If you remember, I am also a procrastinator. And now I have two cameras with the capacity to hold a lot of pictures – currently about ten months worth of pictures, to be exact! Can you hear my sighing? Steven’s birthday is just two weeks away, and I need space on the camera to take his birthday pictures. I have a big job ahead of me that would have been much less if I had taken care of pictures once every month or two instead of procrastinating.
My other project is that of making cloth napkins for my family. My ultimate goal is to have enough napkins to last us a week, even though they will probably be washed more frequently than that. In all honesty, that means a lot of napkins, and a lot of time. But, I have found that a couple of tools help me out a lot. I have a cutting guide and rotary cutter that allow me to easily cut a stack of fabric into 12-inch squares. Then all I have to do is hem the edges, a task made easy with a hemming foot on my sewing machine. In one fell swoop I can cut three to five napkins, and I can have one hemmed and trimmed in just over five minutes. When I look at the whole project, it feels huge. But I have bucked against my natural inclinations, and instead of procrastinating I cut and hem napkins here and there when an extra five to fifteen minutes pop up before me. Now all of the kids’ napkins are done, and I have half a dozen more hemmed for Doug and me. I am actually encouraged at the prospect of being able to cut and hem some seasonal fall, Christmas, and winter napkins as well. All because I have worked here and there on bits of the project rather than procrastinating over the whole pile.
There is a point to this whole confession. Spiritual procrastination is an easy thing to do as well. We learn a new truth from a sermon, Bible study, or a time of reading, and we are determined to put it into practice. But, we put it off. We convince ourselves that we need to truly devote our energy to this new truth, and we could do it better tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, though, it’s easy to push it on to the next day and the next. Oh, and there’s another new truth! That one is awesome and we cannot wait to implement it! But, there is still the one we have been putting off. We need to do that one first.
As the learning piles up, the task becomes overwhelming. What started as a daily growth becomes stagnancy. Suddenly we find ourselves in great need of those lessons to have already been implemented, but we are so buried under the pile of them that we have no idea where to start. We just know we need their effects in our lives. Our spiritual procrastination and stagnation leaves us in a place where we have to bring everything else to a halt just to get caught up in the moment of crisis.
I will probably always battle procrastination in some form. I hope and pray, though, that my successes against spiritual procrastination lead forth in the battle, spilling over into the less critical aspects of my life. Yes, even into keeping caught up with sorting those pictures!