Procrastination
“Procrastination”—putting off or delaying, intentionally and habitually, the doing of something that should be done, 
especially something requiring immediate attention.


Discussion: The Thief of Time

Have each person in the family or group close their eyes for one-minute.  During that time, walk around and keep making sure no one has opened their eyes.  After a minute, sit back down and invite everybody else to open their eyes.  Invite them to see if they can figure out what was stolen during that past minute.  After letting them guess for a while, share the following two quotes:
  • Procrastination is the thief of time” (Edward Young, 1683–1765)
  • There is a danger in the word someday when what it means is “not this day.” . . . The scriptures make the danger of delay clear.  It is that we may discover that we have run out of time.  The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting.  We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or have dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. This day is a precious gift of God.  The thought “Someday I will” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity. — President Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign, May 2007, pp. 89-91
Using the following questions to have a discussion on procrastination and time:
  • What does the word “procrastination” mean to you?
  • Why is procrastination so dangerous?
  • Where might one find themselves procrastinating?
  • What also does procrastination “steal” as a thief?  (use the following quotes to help)
    • Procrastination . . . is the thief of our self-respect.  It nags at us and spoils our fun.  It deprives us of the fullest realization of our ambitions and hopes. — President Thomas S. Monson, BYU Address, February 8, 1966
    • Procrastination, as it may be applied to Gospel principles, is the thief of eternal life – which is life in the presence of the Father and the Son.  There are many among us, even members of the Church, who feel that there is no need for haste in the observance of Gospel principles and the keeping of the commandments. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, April 1969; see The Way to Perfection, p. 202
    • Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin.  There is nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task. — William James


Activity: Read Scriptures and Share What is Learned

  1. Using the list of scriptures below, write each reference on a small piece of paper, fold it up, and then put it in a bowl.
  2. Divide the amount of scriptures by the amount of people in the group and then have them draw that many papers.
  3. Invite each person to read their scriptures individually and be ready to share what they found and how it adds to the discussion on procrastination:
  • Joshua 24:15 (See also Moses 6:33)
    • Choose you this day whom ye will serve
  • Psalms 119:60
    • I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments
  • Proverbs 3:28
    • Say not … come again … when thou hast it by thee
  • Isaiah 22:13 (See also 1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Nephi 28:7)
    • Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die
  • Matthew 24:44 (See also Mark 13:32; Doctrine and Covenants 133:11; Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:48)
    • Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not
  • Matthew 25:10 (See also Luke 12:37)
    • They that were ready went in with him to the marriage
  • Mark 13:36
    • Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping
  • Luke 9:62
    • Having put his hand to the plough, and looking back
  • Luke 12:47
    • That servant, which knew … and prepared not
  • Luke 21:34
    • So that day come upon you unawares
  • Alma 5:29
    • I would that he should prepare quickly
  • Alma 5:31 (See also Alma 10:23; Alma 13:21)
    • Time is at hand that he must repent
  • Alma 13:27 (See also Alma 34:33)
    • Not procrastinate the day of your repentance
  • Helaman 13:29
    • How long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you
  • Helaman 13:38
    • Ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation
  • 3 Nephi 8:24
    • O that we had repented before this great and terrible day
  • 3 Nephi 29:4
    • Ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord
  • Doctrine and Covenants 6:3
    • Reap while the day lasts
  • Doctrine and Covenants 33:17 (See also Doctrine and Covenants 50:46)
    • That you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom
  • Doctrine and Covenants 64:25
    • Labor while it is called today
  • Doctrine and Covenants 88:83
    • He that seeketh me early shall find me
  • Doctrine and Covenants 124:50
    • So long as they repent not
  • 2 Nephi 9:27, 38
    • 27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!...
    • 38 And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.
  • Mosiah 15:26-27
    • 26 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have willfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. 
    • 27 Therefore, ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.
  • Alma 34:30-35
    • 30 And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.
    • 31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
    • 32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
    • 33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
    • 34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
    • 35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.


Video: Mormon Message

Watch the Mormon Message by President Eyring titled, “Choose This Day



Discussion: Backward Alphabet

Have someone recite the regular alphabet once.
After they see how effortlessly they can do it, have that same person recite it backwards.
They will struggle to do so (unless they have practiced before hand). Have them explain why it was so difficult.  

Application: When we develop habits over time you cannot turn them around in a moment, they take time to change.

Have a discussion relating this activity to procrastination.  



      Application: Game Plan
      1. Invite each person to identify (in a journal or out loud) where they struggle with procrastination.
      2. Next, invite them to create a game-plan on how they will work through it. (Examples: Marriage, Education, Eagle Scout, Mission, Duty to God, Young Women in Excellence, Dating, etc.).
      3. Each person needs to share it with at least one other person.  Whoever they share it with, that person “signs off” on their game-plan and helps them to be accountable.



        Additional Resources

        The following are additional talks, quotes, and scriptures for further understanding and discussions.


        Articles and Talks
        • President Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign, May 2007, pp. 89-91

        Quotes
        • One of the most cruel games anyone can play with self is the “not yet” game – hoping to sin just a bit more before ceasing; to enjoy the praise of the world a little longer before turning away from the applause; to win just once more in the wearying sweepstakes of materialism; to be chaste, but not yet; to be good neighbors, but not now. — Elder Neal Maxwell, Conference Report, October 1974, p. 16
        • Procrastination . . . is the thief of our self-respect.  It nags at us and spoils our fun.  It deprives us of the fullest realization of our ambitions and hopes. — President Thomas S. Monson, BYU Address, February 8, 1966
        • Procrastination, as it may be applied to Gospel principles, is the thief of eternal life – which is life in the presence of the Father and the Son.  There are many among us, even members of the Church, who feel that there is no need for haste in the observance of Gospel principles and the keeping of the commandments. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, April 1969; see The Way to Perfection, p. 202
        • The thought “Someday I will” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity….There is a danger in the word someday when what it means is “not this day.” . . . The scriptures make the danger of delay clear.  It is that we may discover that we have run out of time.  The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting.  We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or have dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. This day is a precious gift of God.  The thought “Someday I will” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity. — President Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign, May 2007, pp. 89-91
        • One of the most serious human defects in all ages is procrastination, an unwillingness to accept personal responsibilities now.  Men came to earth consciously to obtain their schooling, their training and development, and to perfect themselves, but many have allowed themselves to be diverted and have become . . . addicts to mental and spiritual indolence and to the pursuit of worldly pleasure. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 4-5
        • “Time is all the capital stock there is on the earth; … if properly used, it brings that which will add to your comfort, convenience, and satisfaction. Let us consider this, and no longer sit with hands folded, wasting time” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 214).
        • It sometimes seems that we live as if we wonder when life is going to begin.   It isn’t always clear just what we are waiting for, but some of us sometimes persist in waiting so long that life slips by – finding us still waiting for something that has been going on all the time. . . . This is the life in which the work of this life is to be done.  Today is as much a part of eternity as any day a thousand years ago or as will be any day a thousand years hence. This is it, whether we are thrilled or disappointed, busy or bored!  This is life, and it is passing. — Elder Richard L. Evans, Improvement Era, January, p. 65
        • There is another thing with our young people, as well as the people generally, that I desire to call you attention to and that is, procrastination – putting off till tomorrow what we ought to do today, and thinking that we will live our religion a little better next year.  The old saying that to travel by the road of bye and bye will reach the home of never, is just as true today as it ever was.  Let us live our religion today.  Let us do the duty of today.  Let us pay our tithes that we owe today.  Let us do everything required of us today, and not put it off for some future time. — Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1900
        • Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin.  There is nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task. — William James

        Scriptures

        Family Home Evening Activity