In Praise of Procrastination

Malcolm's Corner


In his memoir Confessions, Saint Augustine tells us that he used to pray “Lord, make me chaste – but not yet.” Augustine’s prayer not only became the world’s greatest pick-up line, but also illustrated a plight so common, that it explained why most of the world’s great religions were against procrastination, seeing it as a clear detour from the path of salvation and enlightenment. Much later, the Industrial Revolution brought about a fusion of Christian moralism and commercial self-interest, so that procrastination was seen as forestalling not only salvation in the next life, but also financial well-being in this one. It was Benjamin Franklin who was credited with saying, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” With a few notable exceptions, such as Mark Twain (“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”), procrastination has usually had negative connotations.


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