Strategic Delay vs. Procrastination

Our earlier posts in this series concerning procrastination dealt with the magnitude of the problem. Under ordinary circumstances, I would first define the issue before tackling its scope. I chose to handle procrastination in reverse order since many people don’t consider procrastination to be a serious problem. They fail to recognize the long-term physical, social, emotional, and spiritual toll habitual procrastination can have on themselves, and in so doing they resemble people who, though sick, are unaware of the sickness, only to have to deal with the consequences of the sickness when it … [Read more...]

The Problem of Procrastination

In our fast-paced society that prizes productivity and efficiency, procrastination is clearly a problem that can sabotage career and advancement. In a world preoccupied with high stress and low self-esteem, procrastination can be a serious issue contributing to more frequent physical illness as well mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. And even in Christian circles, procrastination can be a spiritual snare, for procrastination in repentance and the keeping of God’s commandments can destroy our very souls. Even though failing to follow through and complete an intended task until the … [Read more...]

The Distractions of Social Media and Procrastination

It would be nigh impossible to discuss the topic of procrastination without delving deeply into the phenomenon of distraction.  It is the fuel and energy that provides procrastination with such a powerful force in contemporary culture.  Just as it would be difficult to examine procrastination in the absence of a discussion on distraction, it would be nearly impossible to look at distraction today without analyzing the effects of the technological revolution. While advances in technology have provided many benefits especially in the areas of the health sciences, it can have deleterious … [Read more...]

Putting off for Tomorrow: A Series on the Problem of Procrastination

In this new series, we will explore the nettlesome problem of procrastination, which affects the most of us at some point in our lives. In fact, one study found that 95% of the population has experienced procrastination in one form or another.  Silver and Sabini (1981) label it a psychopathology of everyday life.  Its manifestations can cause havoc in our personal relationships, careers, and our spiritual life. Not getting a term paper done in time may not be the end of the world, but not preparing for the Kingdom of Heaven in time could mean being shut out of the bridal chamber like the … [Read more...]

Strategies for Dealing with Impulsivity

Our lived experience tells us that today impulsivity can be a disorder that affects many people of all ages in a sundry of situations with a variety of objects that are the focus of pathological impulsivity. The object of the impulse in the mind of the impulsive—such as delicious food, a glass of alcohol, the slot machine, or the search for images on the internet—can become so overpoweringly tempting that the impulsive throw caution to the wind, time after time, and sabotage their own lives. Psychologists and therapists have confirmed the nature and extent of the problem.  We know that “just … [Read more...]

Overcoming Impulse Through Relaxation and the Prayer

In a previous post, I wrote about our innate double-mindedness and how those two minds are often at war with each other when it comes to addictive attractions. At the time of temptation, the rational mind finds itself hijacked by a hyperactive impulsive system that grabs our inner steering wheel driving us down the road of impulsive behavior. For the impulsive, there are certain triggers that are experienced through anyone of their five senses (or even memories of those sense impressions) that excite them and propel them toward the impulsive behavior. Focusing on those triggers or even … [Read more...]

Impulsivity: Just Say No or Just Say Yes

In the early 1980’s, First Lady Nancy Reagan kicked off a signature campaign against drug use in the United States. She called it the “Just Say No” to drugs.  The phrase was memorable, catchy, and seemed to be the essence of simplicity itself.   After years of failure in the presidential sponsored “war on drugs”, many believed that the First Lady had found something that just might work. Decades later, we know that the “Just Say No” campaign didn’t work.  In fact, some may argue that it had the opposite effect, especially in urban areas like New York City where the crack epidemic was about to … [Read more...]

Impulsivity and Self-control: The Problem of Being of Two Minds

The Apostle James once wrote, “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). That being of two minds, or more literally of two souls (δίψυχος), creates an instability of the will that makes the task of overcoming impulsivity especially challenging. Part of us is utterly persuaded that addictive behavior is bad for us and part of us is completely convinced that it is good for us, and the self is at a loss to explain its actions, for as Saint Paul once put it, “The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:19). Commenting on this passage, … [Read more...]

Finding the Golden Mean Between Over-control and Being Out-of-control

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle described virtue not only as a mean between two extremes that are vices, but also as the means to a good and flourishing life. The cowardly and the brazen can know no real happiness, for those vices bring along other trials and tribulation. Only the courageous can face troubles and peace in a way that can be helpful for themselves and others. Proportion is everything. This Aristotelian teaching was also embraced by Church Fathers like Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Dorotheos of Gaza to name but a few. For instance, Saint Basil … [Read more...]

Impulsivity, Self-Control, and Relying on Christ

Resisting temptation, ignoring unwanted thoughts, and altering one’s emotional state when under the onslaught of impulsivity may seem to some as a fool’s errand. Yet, holy men and women have achieved success at just such endeavors for more than two thousand years. They have done so, not because they had iron wills, fewer thoughts, or a permanent smile, though in time their wills did become more conformed to the will of God, their thoughts became more centered on their Savior, and their joy in Christ could no longer be contained. The secret to their success was very simple: they were victorious … [Read more...]