In my school days, as the bell rang, all the kids assembled for the morning prayer, which was relatively secular. I don’t remember the whole prayer in Hindusthani, but I can still recall a couple of lines.

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 needs to do tomorrow, should be done today, and whatever is supposed for today, should be tackled right now.” All it means is not to dither or delay in executing a job.

I seldom followed the advisory in practice, primarily working on that massive load of “school work” wrecking our two-month-long summer vacation. It was the opposite in my case, jo abb karna woh ajj karle, jo ajj karna woh kal karle.

Later in life, advancing the 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 behaviour are still there in me, as most of us have. Examples: postponing a visit to the dentist, writing or reviewing the will, fixing or getting it fixed that dripping tap, 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 schedules. Yesterday’s importance becomes secondary, and tomorrow’s schedule supersedes the one for today.

It is a dilly-dallying habit or obsession termed procrastination. Chronically, it is the nature of avoiding tasks, mainly the difficult ones. Psychologists say procrastination is not a result of laziness or poor time management. Scientific studies suggest procrastination is due to poor mood management.

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

But some people find a thrill in postponing things till the last moment. An example is a friend who gets gas filled 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. Instead, 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

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