Here at Turtle Rock, I often am enjoying basking so much I don’t start work as soon as I should – then I end up being in a very big hurry and stressed with it.
The Orthodox Church Fathers call procrastination Sloth, Negligence, and Laziness, spiritual afflictions that affect our perception of and relationship to God. They rob us of our proper orientation toward God. If allowed to progress, these afflictions will lead to akidia – listlessness and soul death! So simple procrastination has many very serious implications.
My procrastination is often due to unrealistic expectations of my self and my work. “Oh, it won’t take that long! I don’t need to start it for (2, 6, 24) hours!” Finally, I sit down to do it, realize how big a job it really is, and start to panic. This can lead to carelessness in my work – I try to work too rapidly.
So I struggle each day with procrastination. I have help from The Ol’ Curmudgeon, who will often remind me that I have certain tasks hanging over my head. I am grateful for this, but I realize there are times when he isn’t here – on a business trip or at work – and I don’t have the reminder. So I need to remind myself. My computer has lists, pop-ups, alarms – and, sadly, I have become able to ignore them all. Continual struggle with this is my lot. I’ve worked on it for years, and I see a long road of struggle with it ahead of me.
The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, said every day during Great Lent, is instructive:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartededness, lust of power and idle thoughts
But give, rather, the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for Holy art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen
I often feel the need to say this prayer when it isn’t even Great Lent.
Turtles may not be hares, but we at least need to start at the same time!