Procrastination is the art of getting your priorities wrong! It is not about postponing something because of more pressing matters. Rather, things which really should be next on your list of things to do are pushed aside in favour of activities which may be more pleasurable. Often we have work that though necessary, is onerous, involves hard work, or we just ‘don’t feel like doing it’. Our minds and wills being what they are, it is very easy to come up with a long list of excuses with which to convince ourselves that we have a right to take the easy option: ‘I’m too tired’, ‘I haven’t got time’, ‘I need a break’, and a plethora of others.
Having provided ourselves with the excuses, it’s usually no problem to act on them too! This is a deceptive way of thinking, however, and does not ultimately lead to its lures of pleasure and an easy life. It may offer these as an immediate prospect, but in the long run disaster will be incurred. The book of Proverbs is full of exhortations to be diligent and warnings against a dilatory lifestyle:
Proverbs 10:4, 5: He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He that gathers in summer is a wise son: but he that sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame.
Proverbs 22:29: Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
These verses clearly contrast the poverty and shame incurred through laziness, and the blessings gained by diligence. John Angell James, a great preacher from the 19th century gave this sound advice: ‘You should never put off to futurity what can and ought to be done immediately’.
Be wise, be diligent!
By Philip Mackereth
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