Emails upon emails keep piling on. From bill reminders to that of an old friend asking for an advice to that of alerts from my banks to those newsletters on latest in law, biotechnology and business to book recommendations from contacts on goodreads. I prefer them either deleted, replied or marked read, but thanks to the gene of procrastination in my genome that expresses lazy proteins in my ‘phenome’ that I let the pile increase until it weighs heavy. Heavy on my conscience. Yes, conscience! How would you know? Have you procrastinated ever? If not, then practise this subtle art of laziness. It gives ample time at hand to do “nothing”, but cracks down heavily on conscience from time to time, just to let the artist move on to “newer” procrastinations. There is no fun in procrastinating matters you have procrastinated beyond a limit. Procrastination is, therefore, prolonged as habit by procrastination itself, through self-regulation mechanisms a la genetic regulations in a cell, usually by cracking whip on conscience. You need new procrastinations to keep this art alive throughout your life.
In spirit of my new year resolution, I have quite [sadly] overcome the procrastination in my professional capacity, but I [fortunately] continue to procrastinate matters of personal worth. Why attend them now when you can attend them later? I don’t procrastinate because I lack skills to attend to matters or complete the tasks. Au contraire, I procrastinate because I know, and know it very well that I can perfectly deliver in nick of time. Be it any task or work or mission. I do not understand why people complete tasks before time. There is no fun in doing so. It is so mundane. No experience gained, no sweat lost. Then, why do we work if we cannot maintain this equilibrium of loss and gain?
Procrastination doesn’t lie on fringes of modern work culture. People practise it all the time, from people in small start-up that procrastinate pitching to a VC in eternal hope to clinch one client before going to VC to people in a large multi-billion dollar multinational corporation that procrastinate till the date of product release. However, I must warn you. I must warn you that procrastination is not for faint-hearted, and it therefore, must be practised only by those who are genius, competent and know how to put things perfectly as required when the time is nigh. If you are none of these or are unable to click in the eleventh hour or you falter under an assumed [rather imagined] pressure of working in eleventh hour, procrastination is not for you. PLEASE, refrain from it. You bring bad name to us all ‘genius procrastinators’. You add nothing special or more than what we have to add, to a report or to your work or to a task assigned to you or a programme written by you despite you finishing it before time, however, we still have to ‘suffer’ because of your weird manner of staying punctual to deadlines.
Procrastination, in my view, is not pushing deadlines further. No. That would be professional harakiri and contrary to professionalism. Healthy and genius procrastination strives within deadlines and feeds on professionalism. You don’t push deadlines further. You push the critical mass of your work/task towards the deadlines. In short, you sit pretty and do ‘nothing’ until the eleventh hour cometh. To sit idly is not the way of utilising your bliss period of procrastination, however, you must utilise it to enhance your learnings in the areas and subject matters that your profession has so brilliantly deprived you from indulging in. The non-procrastinators think that we, the procrastinators, ‘waste’ our time. No, Sir or Madam, we simply don’t ! To sit idly or sleep is a waste of time. We, the intellectual procrastinators, have higher tastes and needs, and use this time to indulge with ourselves. To read books, newspapers, enjoying exotic sea food in a remote place is not waste of time, it is indulging in one own self, away from the mundanities of work and clients.
The good procrastinator is able to wield his/her brush naturally and perfectly on the canvass of otherwise mundane job, at the eleventh hour, and fill it with colours of brilliance. I also procrastinate cleaning my room. In that period, I indulge in sipping green tea and reading books. The clothes upon clothes and books upon books and bedsheets upon bedsheets keep piling on, until I am surrounded by a fort-like structure made up of these ensembles. Then I get up, before it gets ‘too dirty’ or when I have a gut feeling that if the room isn’t cleaned and the doomsday is nigh, I would die in badly kept room. In order to prevent myself from dying in unkempt surroundings, I get up and clean my room and flat.
Procrastination must not be loathed, however procrastination by a lesser human must be sabotaged and criticised at any cost. Those who are incapable or are unskilled must not expose themselves to perils of procrastination, since it will be too risky a proposition for them. Procrastination is for absolute geniuses, who use the time, thus stolen from the routine of life, for intellectual or delightful pursuits. I attribute my knowledge on literature, poetry, essays, politics, philosophy and humans to procrastination. If not for procrastination, I would make a boring cog in a giant wheel of mundanity. Long live the procrastination!