Keeping up with yesterday

Yesterday when you were returning home from the meeting of Leo Club of Kathmandu Horizon, Binita Adhikari came to you and said, “Dai, I need your help.” “Sure. But about what?”, you inquired. “It’s about my November blog. I’m writing about procrastination and I need your thoughts on it”, she replied. And guess what? You did not know what procrastination meant! You silently admitted to yourself that your vocabulary is getting worse. Only after she explained you its meaning, you came to know that it meant the act of delaying or postponing actions. You said you’d think about it and left. And after a little research and a lot of brainstorming, here you are penning your thoughts on it.

You may not have been familiar with the word procrastination until yesterday but you are very much used to procrastinating things, sometimes important as well. Take these as examples.

  • When your mom asks you to clean your room, you put it off saying L-A-T-E-R.
  • The girl you’re fond of is sitting right next to you and you still don’t make a move. “No. N-O-T T-O-D-A-Y. Tomorrow.”
  • Your exams are approaching and you know you should be studying right now. But you stare at the closed books and say you’ll start studying right away . . . T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W.

Wow, you feel like a procrastinating ninja!

You know that procrastination is not a bad behaviour. You have always believed that putting things off, in fact, does not even exist. You simply do things, and those things you don’t do, in reality, are just left undone, rather than postponed. It is only the emotional reaction that follows and the discomfort you endure that represent your behaviour. For the people who put things off, and like it, with no accompanying guilt or anxiety, procrastination is probably the best possible way of life. But you know that you are not that kind of a person. Then why procrastinate? Well, the simple answer is to escape from living the present moment to the fullest.

Don Marquis called procrastination “the act of keeping up with yesterday.” To this, Wayne Dyer added, “and avoiding yesterday.” Now you know how procrastination works. There are certain things on your to-do list but they never get done despite your repeated telling that they will. You know you must do a thing, but you’re afraid you might not do it right, or you won’t like it. So you’ll tell yourself that you’ll do it in the future. Then you don’t have to admit to yourself that you’re not going to do it. And it is easier to accept this way. Self-delusion.

There are sometimes when you put things off up to a certain point and complete the task just prior to the deadline (assignments and exams, for example). You then justify your poor results saying you just didn’t have enough time. Self-delusion again. If you allow yourself with an absolute minimum amount of time to get your work done, how can you expect top-notch performance? Things never work themselves out. There remain exactly where they are. At best, they change, but they don’t get better. You are the one who can make them better, not by hoping or wishing, but by rolling up your sleeves and taking on the tasks that are on your to-do list. If you want to change the world, just talking about it or putting things off and later complaining about it won’t help. Do something, NOW. Ralph Emerson wrote,

Do not say things. What you are stands over you the while and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.

Next time as you say you’ll get it done, but know that you won’t, remember those words. They serve as antidote to procrastination.

With all this being said, you know very well that it’s easier said than done. It will be interesting to see when you get rid of procrastination and change from a procrastinating ninja to a doer ninja.

(This post is from my personal diary dated November 7, 2012, Wednesday, with some omissions of course. And sorry for the title . . . just couldn’t think of anything better) 


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