Been long thinking of writing this article. It wandered through my „to-do” lists for a while and so I thought: it is time not to procrastinate writing an article on procrastination anymore.
So that we get things clear from the very beginning, this article only aims to assess the very deep roots of procrastination and how people perceived it overtime. For other tips and tricks procrastination related, check our other articles.
Good. Let’s get to work. I’ll start with the all-mighty definition and move on to trustworthy research articles and bibliography. Put up in simple words by a regular English dictionary, procrastination is „the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”. Since the term has Latin origins, is not hard to guess how ancient this problem is.
Jesus and Procrastination
Might be unexpected to read about Jesus in an article on procrastination, yet religions actually discouraged procrastination and we find evidence in several writings. A collection of Jewish ethical teachings compiled around 200 C.E., repeatedly advises readers not to put off important duties.
Rabbi Hillel, who was born around 100 B.C.E., says: “Do not say, ‘When I am free I will study, for perhaps you will not become free.'” This perspective is also enhanced in one of the most famous expressions in Jewish traditions: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?”.
“If not now, when” is what Jesus also teaches. Reconciliation with adversaries should be done immediately, for we should not let “the sun go down while we are still angry” (Ephesians (4:26), (Matthew 5:23-24).
Procrastination has been also treated in belletristic, yet this is the subject of another article to be written once I quit postponing it.
Procrastination once meant Aristocracy
Later in history, the aristocratic societies and the rise of nobility came up with a different twist to perceiving procrastination. In Middle Ages, physical labor was associated with a low status, while nobility took responsibility of war duties.
However, the original role of nobility changed in time to more like a leisure class, particularly under the monarchy of Louis XIV and his successors (in France). Defined by courtly manners and elegant consumption, this class stood up above the crowd. Why work and sweat when you can have anything? Thus, hard-work and efficiency would serve as traits only for the low-middle classes, for which “self-made-man” was a valuable expression.
The industrial revolution (1789) meant no impressive change in the perception of procrastination (referring to the French Revolution). Aristocracy went on with disdaining work as more and more leisure activities diverted its attention. Moreover, the following two centuries were nonetheless more pro-putting-off activities and since www was put up by Tim Berners-Lee, everything has changed.
Let’s get back in our times and discuss the current perception of postponing. I have to stress yet another valence of procrastination that accounts in our current society, that is: taking over easier tasks just to avoid a tougher one, it counts as procrastination as well. It is not always about doing nothing at all.
Means of distraction are countless nowadays. Not to mention the plenty of “weapons” the internet provides us with. What changed in the perception though?
“Time is money”, “Time flies” we all know them. Consequences? Productivity is of utmost importance, therefore procrastination is a threatening enemy of us all. Recent studies and specialists highlight new perspectives on the matter, some debating whether it is a disorder or just a habit. Moreover, some authors blame it on genes, so folks, this is not funny anymore.
Van Eerde and other psychologists have proposed self-induced cures to beat this disorder (i.e. self-forgivingness, acknowledging), while others insist on a better time and task management. 5 steps for curing chronic procrastination? Go for it. It’s up online. 11+ ideas of how to get things done? Just type David Allen into the web browser and he’ll tell you how the deal works.
The problem is real and treats do exist, because there is no reason for smoke without fire, right?
It has always haunted us
n a rather shortcoming conclusion, procrastination has always been a pain in the back, so lay back down and embrace yourselves. It will get worse. Not only because of the increasing number of situations attention is needed in or the productivity people are asked for, but also due to more people acknowledging this highly valent word: procrastination.
Keep it in mind. Procrastination.
Author: Cristina Pandrea