I could consider myself a professional procrastinator (if procrastination were a profession) – something I never aspired to be – something I never trained for, something I was never taught. I didn’t need to be taught this particular skill. It just came naturally to me and I continually sharpen this skill by practicing procrastination on a daily basis, which only increases my proficiency. Perhaps this makes me an expert. However, I am not sure “professional, currently practicing procrastinator” is something I can or should put on my resume. Are procrastinators in demand? Are procrastinators an asset or a liability? In this fast paced world, I would assume the latter. Maybe procrastination is not a marketable skill at all.
Still I continue to practice my profession daily. Why only yesterday (and the day before if truth be told) I passed the gas station thinking I should stop and get gas – BUT – I just wanted to get home, I didn’t want to take the time and it was cold and snowy, I didn’t want to get out of the car. Besides prices are high. The result of my procrastination? Well, my gas gauge is getting dangerously lower with each day that I put off (a simpler word for procrastinate) stopping to get gas. However, the other variables could change for the better or for the worse. Gas prices could go down and gas might be cheaper when I finally stop to fill up. Also the temperature could rise, wind die down, snow stop etc. so weather conditions could be better when I finally get gas. And I could be less pressed for time on that future day when I finally fill up. These would all be perks of putting it off till later.
OR – gas could go up in price, the weather could get even colder, and I could be on the way to an appointment or whatever with no time to spare, but have to stop for gas or risk running out and becoming stranded somewhere and never arriving at my destination at all. These would all be pitfalls, if I might be allowed to point out the obvious.
So procrastination can have pluses or penalties. It just depends. Ever buy something and later it goes on sale and you wish you’d procrastinated on your purchase? However you can’t use an expired coupon or eat “expired” food. There are penalties for paying bills late -they add a late fee on, and in school, penalties for turning in late papers – they take points off. Life seems to be full of deadlines and expiration dates. It’s exhausting trying to keep track of them all. I am surrounded by “sell by”, “use by”, RSVP by, “return by”, “must be received by”, “offer good until”, – if I snooze, I lose.
Even as I write this, I confess, the oil light is on in my car, telling me it’s time for me to take my car in for an oil change. And the “change furnace filter” message is showing on my home’s thermostat and has been for awhile. (I won’t say for how long for either of these things) Both of these things will lead to severe pitfalls if I continue to procrastinate. Procrastination paralyzes. I need to remember the anti-procrastinator mantra – “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
But just how much can I really do today? There are only twenty-four hours to fill and I have to sleep sometime, right? However, these words call me to action today – “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Those are convicting words for a procrastinator. They are convicting words for me. Today is all I have. I want to make the most of it in every way. Is there someone I can help? someone I can show kindness to now in this present moment? Procrastination produces a life of good but unrealized intentions, which means a life of things that never were. Time will run out eventually but in the meantime I will live by these anti-procrastination words –
“This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
I will rejoice today! I will be glad today! I will be kind today! Not tomorrow, which never comes, because when it arrives it is today, but today I will do what is in my power to do to make this world a better place. Instead of dreaming about the things I will do someday, I will actually do things that I can do today. This will require getting off the proverbial couch, it will require leaving my comfort zone, it will require getting off the fence and taking action, instead of agonizing over options and possibilities until I am permanently paralyzed by my procrastination. Joshua told the Israelites this,
“then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Make my choice today. Joshua told the people they needed to decide today. Don’t put it off. Jesus said this in John 9:4 –
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
I have to say, I have this battle going on within me between procrastination and persistence, between putting off and pushing forward. It’s when I bring a third player, priority, into this battle that things get interesting. The laundry can wait, but my friend who needs a listening ear, needs it now. I may be a procrastinator of chores, but I want to be a prioritizer of people. May the perk of procrastinating everyday tasks be that I have more time to spend with the people who come across my path today and may need something I can give. I won’t get this day back, better spend it wisely.
In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara says “After all, tomorrow is another day.” I have to admit, as the classic procrastinator, that is often my mantra too. But today I will go with “This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I will be glad now, not tomorrow.
I didn’t take Scarlett’s advice today – I didn’t procrastinate in writing this post – good thing because tomorrow the topic will be something totally different and this opportunity will have passed –
“I will not pass this way again, therefore if there be any good thing I can do . . . let me do it now!”
sincerely, Grace Day (professional procrastinator)
3 thoughts on “procrastination – perks and pitfalls”
I suppose to some degree we are all procrastinators in one way or the other. I know I am for sure. Thank you…..I needed this. Donna Belcher317-371-8380 Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly!!
And so we all go … I think procrastination is in all our DNA. I have three papers to write and a large book to finish before the deadline of March 16th so I think I have all the time in the world. Somehow, all that time, when squandered, closes in quickly and at the 11th hour I move into a frenzied pace. I have always preferred a slow stroll over a frenzied pace so why not choose what suits us & those around us best. “Choose this day, what makes best use of the precious moments I have been given and Lord help me in my weakness to choose Your choice. “ ❤️🙇♀️
Although I’m not an advocate of procrastinating, we’ve all done it or still do it occasionally, and. every once in awhile, it works out to my advantage that I waited because sometimes things I need to get taken care of wound up resolving themselves on their own before i finally got a round to it!😉