The very well-known English proverb ‘Procrastination Is the Thief Of Time’ was quite popular even in my school days and I learnt it before attaining tenth class. This was more than fifty years ago. Not only I learnt the above so-called proverb, but also wrote essays on this topic and wrote several times during both my school and the undergraduate days. I also made explicit mention of it, as and when, a context demanded. But I do not know why and how, it occurred one day to me a couple of years ago that something is fundamentally wrong with this proverb, that the above saying can not be classified under Proverb.
I have problem with the two key words ‘Thief’ and ‘Time’. Both the words are inappropriate. A thief is one who takes unlawfully what is not his own, especially by stealth. Time is not a physical asset or object like gold, cash or any other valuable goods, for that matter, that can be stolen. It is absurd to say some one will take away time since TIME is eternal and flows without asking for anyone’s permission. It does not occupy space and it is omnipresent.
However, procrastination results in important losses. First, if an opportunity comes your way and you say, I will take or avail it later, that opportunity will not come to you again. It is almost lost for ever. Second, when you postpone doing your things, those things get accumulated. They pile up, and after some time, become a hill. You are flooded with so many things that need to be done in a short span of time. Your mind becomes agitated, restless and confused. What to do first, what to do next, how to do, etc.? A work that would have taken half-an –hour to complete, would, in all probability, take much longer. Not only that and more importantly, you are very likely not to do them properly, and good chances, you will make mistakes which can cost you dearly, can even be fatal.
At the heart of procrastination lies laziness. It is due to sheer laziness that we do not do things in time and postpone doing them to some indefinite time frame. Procrastination adds more to that laziness which many of us already have to a greater or smaller extent. A procrastinator is a double loser. He loses his chance and he loses his normal growth.
Therefore, the right proverb would be “PROCRASINATION KILLS OPPORTUNITY AND KILLS GROWTH.”
By Dr. Sachidanand Das