Beware the Thief of Time and Dreams
‘Procrastination is the thief of time,” the mid-18th-century English poet and dramatist Edward Young said in his book Night Thoughts.
While all of us are guilty of procrastinating at some point or another in our lives, some of us procrastinate all the time. We might be lucky enough to identify it in time and still do something about it, but for others, procrastination steals dreams and can even destroy lives.
I am a procrastinator. The reason people procrastinate varies from person to person and is not always obvious. Sometimes it is a hidden fear that we don’t want to acknowledge, or it could even be as simple as not wanting to do something because it just doesn’t motivate us. In my case, I procrastinate because I always believe that I have enough time, which, unfortunately, is not always the case.
Over the years, besides the regrets of losing time, I have blown a few opportunities, some of which could have been life-changing, because of my procrastination. And I know those opportunities will never come again.
Now I would advise anyone to practise more diligence and discipline than I have. As soon as opportunity knocks, open the door! Fill out that application form, attend that meeting, submit that proposal, enter that competition. Take advantage of the opportunity, because it is a God-given grace.
Procrastination Eats Away At Us
At other times I have set myself a goal, or painted a mental picture for myself of how I would like my life to be. And when it was time to take the first step towards my goal, there was resistance from my side. As I missed out, I’d ask myself: “Why am I not as good as others when it comes to taking opportunities?”
So you start doubting yourself and you might even question whether there’s something wrong with you. That is what procrastination does. It eats away at your confidence, slowly but surely, and it can make you feel like a failure.
Every 24 hours given by God are for us to use to the best of our abilities, with the gifts and talents which he has invested in us. When we procrastinate, we are not only putting off performing a task, we are actually not putting our God-given abilities into action, in appreciation and thanks to God. I came to the realisation that it amounts to taking our gifts and talents for granted, “knowing” that tomorrow they will be there again.
Making Poor Decisions as Time Runs Out
There have been so many times that I have made poor decisions, just because time ran out. In the end, I settled for impulsive, poorly-planned decisions. And these can lead to an unnecessary poor quality of being.
As the years go by and our procrastination habits continue, our reputation inevitably gets tarnished. Nobody wants empty promises. People might stop depending on us and hold back on offering us opportunities because they worry that we’ll procrastinate again and not deliver.
Procrastination also affects our physical as well as mental health. I love walking and I have many times tasted the positive effects of my regular walking habits, yet at times I waste weeks and months not doing anything. People also procrastinate by putting off medical check-ups and appointments. This can have dire consequences and affect our quality of life.
Procrastination gives us a feeling of being out of control of matters, while being proactive gives us a feeling of being on top of things.
The latter is a positive state to be in and keeps away stress and anxiety, making us feel on top of the world.
Who doesn’t want that? I certainly do.