Procrastination is a Latin word formed from pro, which means for, and cras which means tomorrow, so it is the process of putting things off until tomorrow. It is a very old problem, since the ancient Romans had a word for it. It is also in the Bible, notably in the parable of the Ten Virgins. Five were wise and five foolishly procrastinated. As a result they were locked out of the wedding feast. Jesus ended this parable saying: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:13, NIV)
This is not a simple question. We all have a number of things going on in our lives, and many different tasks. We cannot do them all at once.
It is inevitable that we have things on our to-do list. We also have many reasons for not getting around to accomplishing all of them.
Here are some of the well-known sayings on the subject:
“Procrastination is the thief of time.” (Edward Young, 1683–1765) Or, as Dickens put it in his book David Copperfield: “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”
If someone steals our possessions, we may be able to replace at least some of them. But we can never replace lost time. The older I get, the more conscious I am of this reality. Recently two of my relatives have died, and I know it is only a matter of time before we all leave this earthly realm.
Another saying is: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today or as one wag put it, Until the day after tomorrow.”
Ben Franklin put it another way: “Never put off to tomorrow that which you can do today.”
Some years later Aaron Burr turned this around: “Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action.”
From a spiritual growth point of view, the danger with procrastination is that it puts us in a negative spiritual state. Dealing with procrastination is also a way of dealing with our peace of mind. This task might help you get around to doing things you have been putting off, but more importantly, may help your state of mind.
Task # 30 – Not Procrastinating
Make a list of important tasks you have been putting off.
Mark those that are urgent, and that can be done this week.
Notice the resistance in you to getting around to completing the task.
Complete at least one task.