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Monday, 2 April 2012

The Art of Procrastinating


Nothing is as fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an incompleted task. Around the world many individuals have mastered the art of procrastinating. From students to teachers, even our dedicated civil servants do it. Some may even try to stipulate a reason for finding something else to do other than that which is assigned. Do you know what procrastination is? Have you ever fallen prey to its trap?

Your procrastination is not an untameable beast. Procrastination is a habit that you can overcome. There are no quick fixes, only simple strategic methods that can be followed each day. People procrastinate for different reasons. One researcher identifies three basic types of procrastinators: arousal types, or thrill-seekers, avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think that they lack effort than ability, and decisional procrastinators. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

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To cease putting off those daily tasks, it is important to understand why it is being done. We procrastinate because of fear - fear of failure, fear of success and fear of attachment. We fear failure and so we put off applying for that scholarship, or refuse to bring an idea to the boss at work. Some procrastinators fear that if they start working at their full capacity, they will become workaholics. Since we procrastinate compulsively, we assume that we will also write compulsively; we envision ourselves locked in a library carrel, hunched over the computer, barely eating and sleeping and never seeing friends or going out. Rather than fearing separation, some people procrastinate in order to create a barrier between themselves and others. They may delay to create chaos in their lives, believing that it will keep other people away.

Procrastination is a sin. It steals your time. Sadly, but true; we sometimes find reasons not to read our Bible, attend prayer meeting, and even regular church services. The Bible says that “thou shall not worship any other gods before me.”  The things that we give our time to when we know we should be at that prayer meeting or reading our Bible could be considered an idol.

There are big costs to procrastination. Health is one. Just over the course of a single academic term, procrastinating tertiary level students had evidences of compromised immune systems which lead to more influenza, more gastrointestinal problems and insomnia. In addition, procrastination has a high cost to others as well as to oneself; it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto others, who become resentful. Procrastination destroys teamwork in the workplace and private relationships.

Procrastination manifests itself within every aspect of your life. Waiting until that last minute to buy those Christmas gifts, putting off seeing the dentist, getting that discomfort checked out by the physician, and filing your taxes. You forget to register to vote. You need to get an oil change. There is a pile of dishes getting higher in the kitchen. Shouldn’t you wash clothes now so you don’t have to waste Sunday cleaning everything you own? You’ll get around to it. You’ll start tomorrow. You’ll take the time to learn a foreign language, to learn how to play an instrument. Before you do though, maybe you should check your email. You should head over to facebook too, just to get it out of the way. Maybe just a few episodes of that show you like.

Procrastination steals time. When we decide to sit in-front of the television to watch cricket, football, basketball or that favourite soap opera, instead of going to church; we rob God of his time. He is not pleased. The Bible says “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things shall be added unto you.” ALL here denotes the desires of your heart, your dreams and aspirations. So without an investment you cannot expect to withdraw what was not deposited.

Mikki Clarke