I just finished writing the first draft of a procrastination Bible study, so I’ve been thinking about work a lot lately. How to make myself work and how to make myself stop thinking about work.
Because here’s the thing: just because we think about work, that doesn’t mean we do it. In fact for me it has the opposite effect. When I’m overwhelmed, I freeze up and do nothing.
Practical Suggestions to Stop Thinking About Work
So my question is, how do you stop thinking about work all the time–and actually do it instead? I googled that question last night and came up with this great blog post that had practical suggestions to end the work day well. I’ll study that blog post and see if I can implement some of those ideas.
But for me, I need more than a practical list of suggestions. I also need to see work from a biblical perspective. I need to renew my mind.
Option Charts to Stop Thinking About Work
Since I was visiting with a friend about option charts last night, I thought I’d use an option chart to renew my mind about work. I did that this morning (right before I wrote this blog post) and it completely freed me up and made me feel joyful and hopeful. About both wanting to work and not feeling like I have to work all the time!
Unfortunately, option charts don’t translate well into blog posts. There isn’t room for it in the width of the blog. So instead, I’m just going to take a picture of the chart from my journal and hopefully you’ll be able to read it (see below). It’s a tad messy, but that’s the way my journal is!
Quick Explanation of Option Charts
If you look at the top of the chart, you’ll see four headings. Those are the things I want: to have all my work done, to be close to God, to live in peace and joy, and to meet the expectations of others. The options on the left side of the chart are things I could do (like quit work) or things I’m actually doing (which would be options 3-5 and occasionally options 2 and 6).
The little arrows show whether those options help me get what I want (the four column headings) or keep me from getting that. Here’s a picture of my entry:
What God Taught Me Through the Option Chart
If you look at that chart, I noticed a few things:
- I’ve been taking the worst options. When I’m overwhelmed, I usually live in options 3-5. Since God has been helping me in the area of procrastination quite a bit, I sometimes dip into option #2 – but as you can see by the chart, that’s not a good option either!
- There is no “get all of my work done so I can stop thinking about work” option. Since I have far more projects and ideas than I can handle, I’ll never reach the “I have them all done!” point.
- My choices are a) quit work altogether, b) live in a state of stress trying to get it all done, or c) ACCEPT that I can’t get it all done, REST in God, and FOCUS on what He wants me to do. That last option is by far my best option.
- The last option is also my best option for getting the most work done – at least the work God wants me to do. You would think option 2 would be the best option but it’s not. Here’s why: For one, I’m not capable of that option very often since I’m not a Type A person. And two, when I take that option, I head into Obsession Land. And when I’m in Obsession Land, I make work way more complicated than it needs to be and don’t get as much done.
- Quitting work doesn’t lead to peace and joy. This was a surprise to me. The chart may be difficult to read, but that little “a” in the top row of the 3rd column leads to the “a” down at the bottom of page. I discovered that because I get bored so easily, work is nice to keep me occupied. Not to mention the fact that God wants me to work!
- The only way to let go of the living-up-to-expectations-and-keeping-everyone-happy idol is to rest in God, love Him first, be willing to disappoint people, and let God be enough even if a lot of people are unhappy with us (see last row in the “meet all expectations column”).
How to Stop Thinking About Work All the Time
So this is all interesting, but does it answer the question at the top of this blog post? I think it does. Practical suggestions are super helpful, and we need to look at those. But even more than practical suggestions, what we really need to do is change our mindset and get a biblical perspective on work when we find ourselves obsessing over it. Renewing will also help us have the strength to make the practical changes we need to make.
If you want to try renewing your mind with option charts, you can download a blank option chart here: option chart. I also have a blog post on how to use option charts and talk about them in Freedom from Emotional Eating as well. The funny thing is that I wrote this post without thinking about it after filling out my option chart. Renewing my mind made me actually want to work.
Podcasting and a New Direction: Coaching!!
Besides renewing, though, we also need to take an honest look at our lives. Are we trying to accomplish more than we can peacefully handle? Sometimes when we’re overwhelmed, we just need to slow down! I realized this past few weeks that I fall into that category.
Through a number of different things, including a trip to the emergency room with chest pain, I realized that I need to lighten my workload. I’m currently praying about how to do that but in the meantime, I’ll be at least cutting down on the number of podcasts I put it out. Rather than once every two weeks, I’ll be putting them out when I have something to share. I still want to do victory interviews (for weight loss or anything else God is helping you with), so email me if you’re willing to be on a podcast!
I’ll also be adding something that falls more into the fun category than the work category for me: coaching! I’ll be doing both life coaching and weight loss coaching for a small number of clients and I’m so excited about it! If you’d like more info on coaching, click here.
November, 2019 Update: Procrastination Bible Study Finished!
If you’d like a Bible study on how to overcome procrastination, click here: Freedom from Procrastination Bible Study.
Do you have any strategies that work well to help you let go of work and not think about it when you’re not working? If so, please write them in the comments below!