Man is born free but ever in his chains! Chains can be in any form, any mode, and any strength! In coming out of it, lies one’s success! To come out of it is not that easy; but man has got to make a constant effort which is possible only when he is conscious of the chains!
One such chain is ‘procrastination’. What is procrastination? Look at it: procrastinate means adjourn, dally, defer, delay, dillydally, drag one’s feet, gain time, penelopize, play for time, postpone, prolong, protract, put off, retard, stall, temporize!!!!!! Is it too harsh to castigate this normal and routine with the individuals in the society and name it as a ‘disease’? As the one who is allergic to any kind of procrastination for whatever reason, I consider it sure as a disease! We know diseases are of two types – physical and mental. Most of the diseases fall under this or that but this disease falls under both! Many a time in our day to day life we fall sick with this disease with dangerous consequences and we do regret later.
Time is the essence! We come across several instances in the world where the disease of procrastination has taken its toll through the loss of limbs, loss of image, loss of fortune, loss of property, loss of profession – still worse the loss of one’s very life itself! Yes; to repeat, TIME is the ESSENCE! When a thing is not done on time, when an issue is not taken upon on the appropriate time, when a problem is not attended to with the promptness it warrants the situation goes out of our control and we come to grief. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ the old proverb goes!
What causes the disease? VIRUS of unknown origin! Not at all! Most of the times, it is indifference, ignorance, lack of knowledge, mistaken and misplaced priority, psychological barriers such as fear of failure, that monstrous alibi of ‘no-time’, wrongly perceived hurdles based on health, mind and money, mismanagement of time etc. etc.
How do we treat the disease?
‘Prevention is better than cure’ so goes an adage! What is the prevention that we can employ? One has to create right from the young age an urge to attend to any work – may be important or unimportant, may be urgent may not be urgent, may be important-urgent, may be unimportant-urgent, may be unimportant-not urgent, may be urgent-not important – then and there without procrastinating. One has also to cultivate this as a habit – almost as a reflex action to the needs of the work on hand! Once this happens, the work small or big, easy or difficult, interesting or uninteresting, cheap or costly, one can discard the tendency to procrastinate. ‘Where there is a will there is a way’ are the golden words of wisdom! Very often the people fail to take the preventive medicine, allow the disease to take hold of them, swallow the medicines at a huge cost with a lot of unsavory side effects and the consequential weakness to be put up with for weeks and months!
Then how do we go about finding a cure for this debilitating disease?
It is strongly felt that the cure does not come from outside and has to be found from within. No management training, no personality development program, no counseling no class on Time and Stress management! Not that they don’t have any effect whatsoever; they do have some impact, provide some inputs to the individual patient. They do have some paramedical assistance required for a cure.
First we have to conscientiously believe and accept that procrastination is a disease and we have to find a cure from within! We must develop a self belief that it can be cured!! Conscious of the evil effects of the disease, we should make honest efforts towards that end!!!
Planning for the day’s work early in the morning on a systematic and regular manner gives us the necessary activity chart to carry out the outstanding work as on the morning and the expected for the day. As discussed earlier, though every work has to be carried out, it would be prudent to classify the work as (a) important and urgent (b) urgent (c) important (d) neither important nor urgent but yet has got to be done and then carry out them in the same order. Planning includes mobilizing time, energy, money, materials required to complete the work. To the extent possible it should be the endeavor of the individual to do his personal work himself without entrusting the work to others. This should be deemed to be basic ethics and at the same time there needs be no embargo on others doing on another’s behalf. Regarding the work at office the approach should be the other way. The concept of decentralization should be fully practiced and one should take up the work pertaining to himself on priority basis and again not to feel as a taboo to help others in the name of decentralization.
Due to lack of proper planning, significant time is wasted in waiting, traveling etc. forcing the person to postpone/procrastinate the work to be done. “Simultaneous operations” help often to do more than one thing at a time profitably – doesn’t matter it may run counter to the statement “one thing at a time”!
“Fear of failure” is a dampener and often leads to inactivity contributing in no small measure in procrastination. A philosophical outlook based on the Gita teaching- “Action is thy duty and fruit is not thy concern” may help in warding off this fear and make us to complete the work on time without worrying much about the result placing faith on the divine dispensation.
Strong will power helps to a great extent in crossing the hurdles on the path of progress in our day to day work. To acquire the same, our education, observation, faith in God, cultural back ground etc play their own role.
At times from a strategic point, we may have to deliberately postpone certain actions. That need not be taken as a chain but then constant watch must be exercised to take action at the appropriate time.
Yes friend! I do hear your whisper that it is all right in paper- sweet, simple and nice, but then, difficulty lies in practicing!?!?!? “No pain- no gain’! I love this and hence value a lot!
If we ruminate over the above right earnest and take a few leaves out, probably we may succeed in curing the ‘disease of procrastination.’
Here is a tail piece: My poem titled NO TIME
No time for prayer, satsang we miss
No time to read or write we wish
No time to be with friends we think
No time to serve the needy who sink
No time to visit shrines that lift
WE MANAGE TIME THAT DIES!
Twenty four hours a day
Seven days a week
Four weeks a month
Twelve months a year
Hundred years to live!
No time to spend the way we need
Paradox unsolved in life indeed!
Wasting, gossiping, frittering avoided
Getting up early much before sun rise
Planning your work, being punctual nice
Gets you all the time you need to size!