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.


St. Timothy's Supper Club Meets Sept. 26

St. Timothy's Supper Club meets Friday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.at the home of Bill and Bess Steverson, on Signal Mountain. Please bring a dish to share and a beverage of your choice. For more information, please call Janet Fisher at 886-5221. Children’s choirs are underway and additional children are welcome to join.  Choristers (ages 8-12) ... (click for more)

Gospel Fest 2014 Is Sept. 20

Freedom Ministry Gospel Fest 2014 on   Saturday, Sept. 20, at   6 p.m. at the   Olivet   Baptist Church Kingdom Center. Organizers said, "Let us assemble in praise and worship as one body of Christ and witness God’s Kingdom power manifest." This concert is for the youth of Chattanooga and surrounding areas. It will feature ... (click for more)

City Receives $400,000 Federal Grant To Study Passenger Train Service

The United States Department of Transportation has announced Chattanooga has received a $400,000 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to study the potential use of existing railways for a passenger rail system in Chattanooga. There were 72 awards announced in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Out of numerous grant applications across Tennessee, ... (click for more)

Former Assistant Police Chief Eidson Not Charged In Shooting Of Stepson On Englewood Avenue

Former Chattanooga Police Department Assistant Chief Kirk Eidson was not charged in the shooting of stepson Robert Ingle, 18, on Sunday morning in North Chattanooga. However, Ingle was charged with domestic assault and vandalism. In the incident shortly after 9 a.m. at 1049 Englewood Ave., Mr. Eidson said Ingle came to the house asking him to take him to their other house ... (click for more)

Dirt Decision At Camp Jordan May Come Back To Haunt East Ridge Councilmen

Wow. I thought the arrival of Bass Pro Shop would help bring East Ridge back to a position of prominence in the Chattanooga area, but the Council proved otherwise last night.  To the council - There is a reason that the developers want that dirt: It's valuable . You currently own it and the developer wants it. Bass Pro has already agreed to set up shop. They were going ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Goodbye To My Scooter

The month of August turned out to be unkind, with my dog, my favorite aunt and my magnificent mother all dying within three weeks’ time. As I finally begin to push out the three newest dents in my soul, my habit has been to write something akin to a goodbye note to those I have loved. I’m not ready for Aunt Martha and Mother yet – not by a stretch -- but I remembered Scooter with ... (click for more)