An Essay And article On procrastination
The habit of Procrastination the doing of things is one of the worst habits of a person. Kabir’s advice was: what you have to do tomorrow, do today; what you have to do today, do it now. The Day of Judgment may come about any moment, when will you do it then? This was a sound advice to those who procrastinate doing their work. There is a tendency in the slothful to put off the finishing of a piece of work, implementation of a plan till another time. Uncertain as life is, it is possible that circumstances may change, and one may not be able to do the work at all. It is good to procrastinate things that are bad, but what we have decided to do and what is right, we must do in time. When Ravana, the king of Lanka, was dying, Rama sent Lakshman to him to receive some valuable lessons of practical life from him who was one of the wisest men of the time.
Ravana, when Lakshmana approached him, gave a valuable lesson of practical conduct: Never procrastinate the doing of good things never hasten to do that which is bad. Ravana himself could not practise this ideal in his life and the result was his tragic end. He had planned to erect a ladder upto heaven. He was capable of doing it. But he went on putting off this noble task and could not get it done till death finally came to him. On the other hand, he had earned the enmity of Rama and hastened to measure swords with him. It was a bad decision but he hurried to execute it and met with his tragic end. Had he put the implementation of his two plans in a reverse order Ravana would have been the deliverer of man from the sufferings which are his lot on this earth. His life itself is a great lesson to the effect that we must never procrastinate the doing of good things.
Procrastination is harmful in various ways.
Procrastination maintains tension in the mind. If you do right now what you have to do, it will relieve you of this’ tension. Putting off a work till another time more often than not results in its not being done at all and thus we are deprived of the benefits which might have accrued to us from its having been done. Opportunity knocks at the door but once. Opportunity lost once is lost forever. What is the guarantee that the circumstances may remain the same? They may change and you may have to repent later on over the fact that you missed the opportunity. Sometimes it may prove tragic and change the good side of your career to a bad one. A successful man is one who strikes the iron while it is hot. When procrastination becomes a habit of mind, all cheerfulness and carefree living goes out of life and we live a life or perpetual tension, which indeed is not a life worth-living at all.
While procrastination is harmful to individuals, it may be more harmful to groups, communities and nations. We may cite several examples from life and literature illustrating our point how procrastination proved disastrous to individuals and nations. We have already described in the first paragraph the story of how the wrong priority of doing things proved disastrous to him. The tragedy of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play of the same name is the tragedy of procrastination. The hero, Hamlet, is the prey to the dull habit of putting off the execution of his plans with the result that he himself becomes a victim of sorrow. Chinese aggression on India in 1962 and the defeat of India were a sad commentary on the Indian policy makers who procrastinated giving due attention to India’s defense.
Kashmir problem is the living and monumental fact brought into being by Indian leader’s tendency to procrastinate the settling of scores with Pakistan once and for all. If the League of Nations had taken timely and effective action against Japan, when the latter attacked Manchuria, against Italy when the latter attacked Ethiopia, the totalitarian nations’ designs to put their ambitions sky high would have been nipped in the bud and the world would have been saved the scourge which the 2nd world war put it to. The Allied powers particularly the British and the French procrastinated taking proper action against Hitler’s growing intransigence during the period between the two world wars; on the contrary, they went on appeasing the war monger time and again. The result was the colossal holocaust brought about by the intrepid Nazi hero.
We must ask ourselves whether we do actually realize the dangers emanating from procrastination and. therefore, shun it. We will perhaps find the answer in the affirmative as well as in the negative. We are still procrastinating taking steps for development in certain sectors of our life. For example, we have been sadly procrastinating in the educational sector. Even after more than five decades of economic planning we find half of our population illiterate. We have taken steps to eradicate illiteracy but our steps are not fast enough. We have been procrastinating developing certain geographical regions of the country with the result that there are in evidence regional imbalances in terms of development. We have not yet been able to link every village of India with a link road. This was the task of the utmost importance, a task which ought to have been given the first priority in any scheme of development.
Our pace of development must have been several fold faster than it has actually been, had there been proper planning and implementation in the sector referred to above. On the international scale we have been procrastinating arriving at an agreed level of disarmament. With the nuclear arsenals of the super powers systematically swelling and the race for armaments being in evidence among other countries, the future of mankind is perpetually threatened by war. We have not yet achieved” viable new international economic order where from the present injustices and inequalities obtaining between the advanced and the developing and under developed and undeveloped countries of the world will go. The situation is potentially dangerous on that score. We have been procrastinating the formation of a world government and evolving some type of a world state in the modem world full of nationalistic pride and chauvinism, the dreaded enemies of international order and peace.
In such a climate should we not vow to put off our tendency of procrastinating and lake the decision to undertake the necessary tasks that need our immediate attention? Here it is pertinent to strike a note of warning. While procrastination is regarded as a bad habit, undue hurry or haste is equally a bad tendency. Promptness of action is advisable, but precipitate decision is fraught with undesirable consequences. One must not procrastinate in arriving at a decision in crucial matters; but unless well-thought out decision has been taken; it is more often than not risky to convert it into action. Decisions taken in a hurry or haste without cool and calculated deliberation are likely to lead one into blind alleys or unfathomed troughs which it is difficult to get out from. The golden rule is first to get satisfied with the correct decision. Action should immediately follow a correct decision.
Evil actions contemplated as a consequence of anger, revenge, greed, larceny, lust should be put off as indefinitely as possible till they die their natural death. It is necessary, therefore, always to discriminate between the prompt and the precipitate. A few tips to curb the habit of procrastination may here be given. First of all, it is imperative for us to shake off slothfulness altogether. One must be up and doing. Indulgence in luxuries and slothfulness will blunt the edge of urge for action. Nothing great can be expected from one who does not understand the value of a minute, for seconds and minutes make an hour, a day, a month, a year and the whole life itself. If the value of a minute is descended deep into our mind and heart sloth will disappear. Laurels in life are gathered through the utilization of every moment, second or minute of life.
Procrastination is half conquered once one gets over slothfulness.
Some leisure is necessary after a spell of strenuous work, but idleness is fatiguing. One must, therefore, get one self engaged in some useful work. It is not necessary here to give a list of useful occupations other than one’s main occupation for one finds many even in one’s own household, right from gardening, sweeping and cleaning the room, dusting the furniture to assist the mother or wife in household chores. To ward off procrastination, one must plan one’s work. Detailed planning is necessary. The entire gamut of work may be broken into pieces and time fixed for each piece to be taken up. This will facilitate the satisfactory completion of the work and the work thus done will be very much satisfying, invigorating and thorough. Besides, if one has a settled daily routine, sloth and procrastination may easily be avoided.
What we have to do right from the time we get up from the bed down to the time when we go to bed must be clear to us and we must Slick to it jealously. One may fix in one’s scheme of things and order of priorities. How many things are to be done and in what order of priority they must be taken up-once this is settled in advance, most of the battle is won and we are getting closer and closer to conquering procrastination. But we must resolve to do away with this habit otherwise we shall not be able to lead this life to the full and fruitfully. The major difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is that while the former puts his decisions promptly into action and reaps the fruits; the latter procrastinates thereby depriving him of the fruit. These few tips may help us to curb our habit of procrastination.
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