9 strategies from the saints for fighting laziness and procrastination
THESE TIPS from those who overcame bad habits themselves can inspire you to reach your goals and master your tasks.
It’s very easy to fall into laziness, idleness, procrastination, and even negligence. There are so many useless distractions just a click or a tap away! Our smartphone is always at hand, ready to distract us with news, text messages, emails, games, tweets, and more. As soon as it beeps or vibrates with a notification, we react, often without even realizing it. Even if we resist the temptation to look at the screen, our attention has been diverted and we have already lost a precious moment of our life.
St. John Bosco was known to repeat a saying that goes back to the Fathers of the Church, and surely even earlier: “Laziness is the mother of all vices.” And the saying is true: when we aren’t focused on actively pursuing a goal, when we let ourselves relax our willpower and give in to the pleasure of idleness when we should be active, we open the door to other vices that are just waiting to get our attention.
Diligence, constancy, industriousness, and responsibility are all contrary to laziness. While everybody is different and some people are more susceptible to some vices than others, conquering laziness is often easier than it seems. The vital first step is to decide to start fighting it, and to put into practice some basic advice based on nine quotes attributed to great saints:
Set goals and priorities : “Take care to do things with order, and order will take care of you.” -St. Augustine of Hippo
Divide and conquer: “Begin with what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you’ll be achieving the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Be disciplined: “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Be persistent: “Be patient with all things, but especially with yourself.” – St. Francis de Sales
Eliminate distractions: “Distractions in life can be internal or external. If you’re distracted in your interior, it’s more possible and probable that you will be weaker when facing what is exterior.” – St. John Paul II
Don’t overload yourself with responsibilities: “Seek what is sufficient; look for what is enough, and don’t desire more. What goes beyond this creates anxiety, not relief; it weighs you down, instead of lifting you up.” – St. Augustine
Be generous with others: “Perfect love has this strength: we forget our own happiness in order to make those we love happy.” – St. Teresa of Ávila
First things first: “Do everything with love and for love, making good use of the present time, and don’t be anxious about the future.” – St. Francis de Sales (Aleteia.org)
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