In The Habit Of Postponing Things

By Promod Puri

In my school days as the bell ring, all the kids assembled for the morning prayer which was quite secular in nature. I don’t remember the whole prayer which was in Hindi, but a couplet of that I can still recall.

The words of advice in that morning ritual go like this: jo kal karna woh ajj karle, jo ajj karna woh abb karle. A loose translation of the wordings can be “whatever one thinks to be done tomorrow, should be done today, and whatever to be executed today, should be tackled right now.” Basically, all it means not to dither, not to delay whatever is supposed to be done.

In practice, the advisory was seldom followed by me especially working on that massive load of “school work” wrecking our countdown-wait of two-month-long summer vacation. In fact, it was the opposite in my case, jo abb karna woh ajj karle, jo ajj karna woh kal karle.

Later in life, advancing the doing task by day or date waned with the developing attitude of ‘get it over’ as tomorrow would be like missing the train. But some traits of the delaying behavior are still there in me as most of us have it too, for example postponing a visit to the dentist, writing or reviewing the will, fixing or get it fixed that dripping tap, etc. etc.

Temporizing can be an evasive action, which some people justify as time management because things should be done or tackled on a priority basis. But priorities keep piling up in our busy life’s schedules. Yesterday’s priority becomes secondary, and the one for today is superseded by tomorrow’s agenda.

In fact, it is a dilly-dallying habit or obsession which psychologist call procrastination. Chronically, it is the nature of avoiding tasks, mainly the difficult ones.

Life’s urgencies have made us not to procrastinate our duties and responsibilities. Most of us are in that get-it-over class of on-time doers.

But some people find a bit thrill in postponing things till the last moment. Example being a friend of mine who gets gas fill in his vehicle only when it starts stalling. He may be keeping an empty gas cylinder in his car in case…. But he loves the adventure of being a practicing procrastinator.

My procrastination experience once was neither an adventure nor fun. Rather it was more of escalating tension when we just made it to the nearest gas station after crossing the border for the cheap US gas.

 (Promod Puri is a journalist, writer and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites:, and



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