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.


A Fit Vessel: The Service Of Paul George

Large, Slow Target July 4th, 2015, is an important day in this part of the nation—it is the day that Paul George will turn ninety-three. Allow me to explain. Many of us ask each other, “How are you?” in an impersonal, small-talk greeting sort of way, but Paul uses it as a means to get a conversation going. He takes the question as a cue to produce a small piece of paper ... (click for more)

Rev. Wesley Brabson Is New Pastor At Cleages Chapel AME Zion Church

The Rev. H. Wesley Brabson II, a resident of Cleveland, has been appointed as the pastor of Cleages Chapel, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1550 East 3rd St. He also serves as the pastor of New Beginning, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 2400 12th Ave.  He also has served as pastor of People Praising God Worship Center, in Cleveland, Cox Chapel AME Zion ... (click for more)

Muslim Advocacy Group Questions House Arrest For Signal Mountain Man Charged In Threats Against Muslim Village In New York

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York. CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Could The Marriage Decision Spark A New Independence Day?

I confess that this year I am having a hard time with the idea of celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day. It is not because I am not thankful to God for what was done on that day, what it represents, and the blessings I’ve experienced that flow from it. On the other hand, I want to think that maybe this year’s celebration will mark a period in our history in which a new movement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Fourth Of July, 2015

As one who is about good and fed up with being “socially correct” so less than 10 percent of us can dictate how the other 90 percent of us ought to think, I am going to pause today in order to share a wonderfully fun email that has been around for a while. It is aptly called, “You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop.” Before I do, I got a sweet note the other day from my dear friend ... (click for more)