Christmas Procrastination: You May Want to Try It

Tempted to Push Things Off Until the New Year? It's Probably a Wise Idea.

Susanna Fleming

Digital giving apps and tools

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” and I would say I generally agree with this sentiment. Procrastination can be a huge roadblock to success, and poor planning can cause our to-do lists to pile up unmanageably.

But – hear me out here – there are times when what looks like procrastination might actually be a smart strategy, especially for busy church leaders in the midst of the Christmas season swirl. 

I’m Dreaming of a White… Space in My Calendar 

Between Advent and Christmas services, community outreach events, personal holiday plans, and trying to plan for 2024, most church leaders would agree that our plates are more than full. Our calendars are packed with commitments, and our to-do lists are longer than our Christmas lists. 

In the midst of this, saying, “Let’s revisit this in the New Year” may feel like a cop-out, but I believe it can actually be a wise decision that allows for better focus, clearer planning, and more effective ministry.

So, if you find yourself deferring certain tasks to the post-holiday period, don’t be too hard on yourself. Here are a few compelling reasons why pushing some plans to the New Year isn't just procrastination; it may be smart planning!

Let it Snow! Let it Go! Why Delaying Tasks Can Be a Gift This Season

Embracing Strategic Delay

There is a season for everything, and the concept of strategic delaying recognizes this profound truth. Strategic delaying involves intentionally postponing tasks to a more suitable time, such as the new year. This approach is not about avoidance or procrastination but about aligning tasks with periods where they can be addressed more effectively. 

Recently, a ministry friend of mine told me that her church staff had a four-hour conversation about a ministry event that is six months away. While thorough planning is usually beneficial, in this case, my friend was already overwhelmed with immediate Christmas tasks. This situation highlights the importance of prioritizing and balancing long-term planning with immediate responsibilities. In the thick of the busy holiday season, focusing on far-off events can add unnecessary stress and divert attention from pressing tasks that require immediate action.

Harnessing Power of Fresh Starts

Speaking of strategic delaying, have you ever heard of the fresh start effect? This concept, dubbed by researchers, states that people are more effective at pursuing their goals when they start at the beginning of a time landmark, such as the start of a new week, month, or year. Essentially, this theory tells us that the psychological impact of a new beginning can provide helpful momentum as we work toward new goals! 

I know that most churches are already thinking ahead to 2024, and proper planning is an important prerequisite for action in the new year. Even so, be encouraged by the fact that you will likely have fresh momentum to tackle those goals once the new year kicks off. If your to-do list has any items that don’t have to do with Christmas, it may be worth pushing them off until the fresh start effect kicks in. 

Allocating Time for Reflection

2023 has been a long and busy year for many, and the end-of-year period is an ideal time for reflection and finishing well. In the hustle and bustle of wrapping up annual tasks and preparing for the holidays, it’s essential to carve out space to pray, take a deep breath, and lean into gratitude for all that God has done.

Finding moments to pause and reflect can be challenging for busy church leaders, but we may be able to find more space for this process if we push non-urgent tasks off until the new year! Instead of hurriedly rushing toward the end of 2023 in a flurry of stress, let’s choose to stride forward with peace, purpose, and a heart full of thankfulness.

Preventing Burnout

Sometimes, pushing tasks off can actually be a thoughtful approach to ensure that what you do, you do well – without burning out in the process. In today’s fast-paced world, the risk of burnout is ever-present, particularly when we’re spinning too many plates at once. Recognizing the signs of burnout and giving ourselves permission to pause and recharge is vital. 

As you wrap up 2023, give yourself permission to take breaks and pace yourself! Make a point of actually enjoying your lunch breaks at work, perhaps sharing these moments with your team. Allow for times of laughter and light-heartedness, even in the midst of busy activities like decorating the church lobby or getting ready for Christmas services.

Remember, taking breaks and pacing your work isn’t a sign of weakness; rather, it’s a wise strategy for sustained productivity and preserving your overall well-being! These moments of rest are vital for recharging your batteries, ensuring you're not just surviving but also thriving in your ministry and personal life.

Setting Realistic Expectations

How much can you actually accomplish in the next few weeks before the new year? Answering this question honestly – and setting goals accordingly – can be a strategic move in setting realistic and achievable goals. Try making a realistic to-do list, one that takes into account your current workload, personal commitments, and the natural limitations of time and energy.

Begin by assessing the tasks that are absolutely essential and need to be completed before the year ends. Prioritize these tasks based on their urgency and importance. Then, identify what can be reasonably deferred to the New Year without causing disruption or stress. This exercise helps in distinguishing between “must-do” and “can-wait” tasks, allowing you to focus on what truly matters in the immediate term. By thoughtfully setting attainable goals and acknowledging your limits, you can end the year on a high note, feeling accomplished and prepared to embrace the New Year with renewed energy and focus.

A Free Christmas Bundle To Support Your Church

Breeze knows that the holidays can be busy, and that’s why we’ve put together a completely free Christmas Resource Bundle for your church! This bundle has everything you need for the Christmas season, from social media graphics to sermon screens to motion graphics. You can access this free resource here

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