Bob Tamasy: Life On 30-Minute – Or 30-Day – Delay?

Monday, September 16, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Someone once suggested a test to determine whether I’m a procrastinator, but I never got around to taking it. As someone has wisely said, why do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right?

Actually, procrastinator sounds like something you should get paid for, so I suspect most of us are really amateur-crastinators. But that doesn’t mean we’re not good at it.

Procrastination is practically required to write professionally. Without much effort, we can dream up a limitless variety of excuses for not diving into the demanding, all-consuming task of writing: Getting just one more cup of coffee. Emptying the dishwasher (if you have a home office). Reading the morning newspaper, or visiting favorite websites. Calling a friend you haven’t talked with in months. Changing a light bulb. The list goes on.

Author Philip Yancey summed up the writer’s perspective concisely: “I hate to write…but I love to have written!” I can relate – been there, done that.

But procrastination isn’t exclusive to wordsmiths. Everyone does it: Putting off paying the bills; delaying necessary home repairs; not sending that letter or making that phone call; choosing an hour of TV over finishing a class assignment. In fact, I thought about writing this post some time ago – I’m just now getting around to it.

Live broadcasts on TV and radio usually have five to seven-second delays to avoid objectionable material. Sometimes it seems we operate our lives on a 30-minute, or even 30-day delay. “I’ll do it – in just a few minutes!” Anything to avoid the inevitable.

Sometimes procrastination is understandable – trying to forestall the unpleasant or undesirable as long as possible. But often procrastination is just a sophisticated synonym for laziness. And laziness can be costly, in more ways than one.

Proverbs 10:5 observes, “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” Whether as part of a family or a staff at work, we’re usually members of a team. And the team’s success depends on the contributions of every member. When we procrastinate, failing to do our part, everyone suffers.

The road to failure is often paved with good intentions. Procrastination can consist of an abundance of talking about what we intend to do, accompanied by grandiose dreams about our desired outcome. But mere talk without action can sound the death knell for our plans. As Proverbs 14:23 states, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Procrastination can also squander unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that come our way. We might receive multiple chances to pursue our hopes and dreams, but sometimes opportunity knocks but once. If we’re not prompt in answering the door, it might depart, never to return. As Proverbs 24:33-34 warns, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come to you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

With that in mind, could procrastination be considered a crime? Businessman Victor Kiam said, “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” And British poet Edward Young offered this view: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” If accused of procrastinating, would a jury of your peers convict you?

To be fair, there’s also a positive side to procrastination. It’s not always a bad thing, as writer Hilary Mantel has suggested: “Imagination only comes when you privilege the subconscious, when you make delay and procrastination work for you.” So, how can we discern between procrastination that’s bordering on the criminal, sapping our productivity, and procrastination that’s useful, preparing and positioning us for greater achievements in the future?

I’ll have to get back to you on that. Need to think about it. But I’ll let you know, real soon. I promise. 

---


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Rock Island Missionary Baptist Observes 14th Pastoral Anniversary This Weekend

Rock Island Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2106 Camden Street, in East Chattanooga will observe the 14th anniversary of their pastor, Ronald B. Cook, Sr. with the following guests and praise and worship services: Revival this  Thursday at 7 p.m.  Guests are Pastor Ezra Mayes and the Friendship Community Church. Revival this  Friday at 7 p.m. ... (click for more)

Ballet Magnificat! To Continue Fall U-Church Series

The professional Christian ballet company Ballet Magnificat! will continue Lee University’s U-Church series with a performance on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Conn Center. Ballet Magnificat!, described as the premiere Christian dance company in the United States, was founded in 1986 and now performs over 200 times annually. Under the direction of executive director Keith ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)