The word procrastination has its routes in the Latin words ‘pro’ (forward) and ‘crastinus’ (belonging to tomorrow) so it literally means putting things off until tomorrow. Making a habit of procrastination is harmful to productivity as it’s likely that whatever is being put off is something that needs to be done for a reason. Generally speaking, once a person reaches a certain age and provided they have their freedom, they realize that they can control when to partake in pleasurable pursuits and when to conduct activities that are less enjoyable. Thus, they can juggle their priorities, they can procrastinate.
In day to day life, we make decisions based on the options available to us. At the level of human society, the world is full of individuals making decisions which impact on other individuals, depending on situation and environment. The more proactive decisions we make, the more influence we have on other people and our surroundings.
The converse of this is that if we choose not to make decisions, the more passive we let ourselves become, the more we invite two negative processes. The first is the risk of embracing laziness which can seep into all areas of life and the second is missing out on our potential as decisions are made for us. This is epitomized by Hunter S Thompson in the following quote;
‘A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance’
As Thompson goes on to say in the well-written letter from which this quote is drawn, every person needs to function in such a way that his or her life be meaningful. Each person has to be something, they have to matter. If we are constantly making decisions and the decisions turn out to be good ones, then we feel reassured. It is harder to generate feelings of self-worth and confidence if we let ourselves become apathetic and ambivalent to our surroundings.
Robert O’Connor, the author of Gumptionade, claims that certain people have gumption; they do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether or not they feel like it. He elaborates by explaining that people with gumption think and act with courage, resourcefulness and common sense. My interpretation is that this means having the courage to make decisions, the resourcefulness to take opportunities and the common sense to be aware of the need for balance.
Developing each of the above personality traits will build self-worth and help create a sense of purpose. Once we have a sense of purpose we can begin to orient our future and we are less likely to suffer from procrastination. By choosing to get things done when they need to be done and not putting them off until tomorrow we generate self-esteem. Therefore, it would appear that gumption is the answer to the problem of procrastination and we should do all we can to generate more of it in our lives.