CONTENTS 077 PROCRASTINATION NEXT
PROCRASTINATION: the organizational skill of downgrading a priority on a regular basis


Procrastination is that aspect of personal self control and managerial aptitude that allows ample opportunity for the ingenious creativity of nature to rectify a situation of its own accord. When in doubt do something else and leave nature to take its course. In the realm of maintenance for example, by delaying the repainting of one's house, nature is given the opportunity to weather all the old paint flakes loose. Rain, hail, whirlwinds and sun abrade and scour the surfaces so that eventually, within a generation or two, they will be clean enough for the application of a fresh new coat. Regularly downgrading the priority of weeding the garden is another managerial skill which aims to work with nature rather than against it. As an organizational strategy it empathises with nature by allowing ample opportunity for the re-establishment of the most appropriate plants for that location.

If nature is not obliging, then probability or new technology may well come to the rescue. In the context of financial security, deferring any savings and investment plans is a pragmatic option, because there always the security of hope, that the improbabilities of a chaotic universe will prod a national lottery to deposit substantial wealth into one's overdrawn bank account. Procrastinating over buying the latest technological device is a proven strategy. It is the only reliable means to avoid making a purchase which becomes obsolete the very next day... when a significantly improved model is launched... and the old model is sold off at half the price you paid for it.

Many delayed actions are not appropriately classified as procrastination. Failing to pull the parachute rip-cord in time would probably be categorized as an 'oversight' by the coroner. Refusing to respond directly to questioning is best called 'prevarication'. Postponing a visit to the dentist is usually labelled as 'trepidation'.

Procrastination can avoid the regrets of precipitous action. It should never be forgotten how often actions done 'on the spur of the moment' are deeply regretted. Innumerable unwanted pregnancies could have been avoided with a dose of procrastination prophylaxis. Belated evidence of innocence is of no benefit to anyone convicted and executed for murder. The quick cut of a vasectomy is never reversed with the same casual certainty.

Procrastination is a very beneficial organizational policy for large institutions. Councils and committees and governments delay uncomfortable decisions as a survival strategy. The hope being that none of the faction allegiances will arouse political opposition because there will not be anything to object to. When liquidation looms, investment company directors defer the presentation of accurate financial statements, until such time as any remaining funds can be salted away into private and inaccessible secret money vaults. Transport and utility corporations defer preventative maintenance, in the hopeful expectation that their contracts and obligations will expire before the infrastructure for which they are responsible collapses. Thankfully, postponing the return of a messiah from the dead gives everyone some recovery time and delays the long awaited sound of the last trumpet.



CONTENTS 077 PROCRASTINATION NEXT