The Devious “P” Word

DSC_0374I love words which begin with the letters p-r-o.  Words like: Proactive, Proceed, Proclaim, Produce, Pro-Life, Promote, Propel and Provide.  These words explode with energy and shout for action.  They are hero words, possessing the strength of steel forged by fire.

Yet, among these titans of the English language, there lurks a sinister p-r-o word.  A word which slithers into the hearts and minds of people across the world.  This word is a drag, like to drag one’s feet.  Which word throws a monkey-wrench into the forward motion created by the hero words? That word is….Procrastination.

Procrastination is the anti-hero, the antagonist, the villain.  To procrastinate is to: Dally and dawdle; to lag, linger and loiter; to hold off and to hesitate.  While procrastination deceives and lies, some latch onto it like a baby to its pacifier.  For them it’s a soothing word.  Procrastination is a cozy hammock.  It’s comfortable like an old pair of shoes. It’s a day lounging at the beach.  It’s also a Venus Fly Trap luring unsuspecting souls into a false sense of security.

Procrastination is not simply a fifteen letter word stuck on a page, but it’s a vampire sucking the life out of millions every day.

DSC_0199I’ll give you an example:  My two oldest grandsons were having a great time playing baseball in my front yard.  My wife announced chocolate milkshakes and all nine grandchildren generated a stampede for the kitchen (Well, the baby needed help from her Dad).  I told my two grandsons to first pick up all the baseball equipment and put it in the garage.

During the chaos of the moment, I noticed myDSC_0197 two grandsons in front of me in line for milkshakes.  I looked outside and sure enough, none of the base- ball equipment had been picked up.  I had them exit the line and go back outside to finish their task.  Once they were done, they ran back inside to get their milkshakes.  The first one received the last chocolate milkshake.  As you can imagine, this did not sit very well with the second boy.  Fortunately, the first boy gave his milkshake to the other and he had chocolate chip mint ice cream instead.  Disaster averted.

My grandsons are not alone in this struggle.  Some well-known procrastinators include:

·        Victor Hugo – This famous Frenchman who wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame had his servant take all his clothes while he worked in his study so he would stay put until he was done for the day.

·        Douglas Adams – Even though he wrote many books, including his best-selling novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he was known as an accomplished procrastinator who often drove his publishers and editors crazy.  He was once quoted as saying, “I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make when they go by.”

·        Bill Clinton – The former President was late for meetings so often that Vice-President Al Gore said he was “punctually challenged”.

To read more about famous procrastinators click on the following link:

·        I don’t know if Mark Twain was a procrastinator but he had this to say about the topic: Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow….” And “Let us save tomorrows for work.”

Am I a procrastinator?  I’ve discovered that it depends on the enjoyment of the project I’m working on.  I think I’m a situational procrastinator.

What about you?  Are you a recovering procrastinator, a rare human who does not procrastinate or are you stuck, like the rest of us, in procrastination purgatory?

When we procrastinate, our career suffers, our relationships suffer and we neglect our gifts and abilities.  In my next blog, I’ll explore some ways to break free from the chains of procrastination but until then, share some stories on how you have won a few battles against procrastination.

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