How procrastination kills your best moments

Victor Kiam, CEO of Remington, gave us five words that reveal procrastination’s great danger:

Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.

In the book of Genesis, God warned that he would send seven years of famine to Egypt, but he would first send seven years of plenty. Joseph saw the seven years of plenty as the time to prepare. Remember, the procrastinator usually chooses short-term pleasure over long-term planning. The procrastinator sees the seven years of plenty not as an opportunity to prepare, but as an opportunity to eat, drink and be merry.

The college student spends the early part of the semester gaming, partying, or binging on movies rather than getting started on the year-end projects. The father puts off his eight-year-old daughter’s soccer game, figuring he has plenty of games to watch later. The borderline diabetic disregards dietary changes until his condition is full-blown. When we believe we have plenty of time, we put off what is truly important. Herein lies the arrogance of the procrastinator’s optimism: it is prideful to believe tomorrow will offer the same opportunity that you have today. It is arrogant to presume upon a future that only God, in his wisdom, knows.

The early days of a student’s semester, for instance, are best spent planning for the closing days of the semester. But the end seems so far off, and the weekends so inviting, that he puts off his responsibilities. The father assumes his daughter will always have the same exuberance for him to be at her games as she does as an eight-year old. Both the college student and the father have something in common: they don’t see time as an opportunity to prepare for the future. The temptation to put it off happens easily when time seems plentiful; it’s only later, when we’ve run out of time, that we feel the urgency and attempt to make it up.

In Joseph’s final plea with Pharaoh he says, “And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about.” In other words, the famine was coming whether or not Pharaoh made preparations. There was no changing it, and it was coming swiftly. Most procrastinators foolishly believe that they can avoid the consequences of not preparing in advance. They are convinced that somehow they will be the exception to the rule, but sadly they are not. Their moment of reckoning comes, ready or not.

One of my favorite stories as a child was Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ant. With a Proverbs-like-commitment, the ant worked hard all summer, preparing for the winter while the grasshopper danced a jig with his fiddle and sang his summer away. The unavoidable consequence of winter came, and the ant was prepared, but the grasshopper was not. The window of opportunity had closed for harvest; the ground was frozen, blanketed in white. The ant told the grasshopper to go “dance upon the snow.” Needless to say, it was a very brief jig.

I’ve met some very busy procrastinators. They don’t appear to be lazy on the surface. But when you are always doing things at the last minute, you are not diligent in your preparation. You are lazy in your planning. You need to heed the lesson of the ant, lest you go the way of the grasshopper.

Taken from Taking Back Time: biblical strategies for overcoming procrastination

Leave a reply