The Dangers of Procrastination

ticking clock

I’ll write a blurb… later.

Putting off Life

It’s time to share a topic that’s very near and dear to my heart in an article that I should have written last week: the dangers of procrastination. There are so many tasks, both big and small, that must be completed every day in order to survive. Why, then, is “I’ll do it tomorrow” the battle cry of our society?

Admittedly, I am a procrastinator of epic proportions. I regularly put off not only boring things like homework and grocery shopping, but such necessities as eating, sleeping, and breathing.

I mean, come on. I can always breathe later. 

I can eat this ice cream later.
I can eat this ice cream later.

In small doses, procrastination seems harmless. This five-page essay isn’t due until Wednesday, so why not binge-watch Psych instead? It doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s 1:30 A.M. on Tuesday night. (Yes, this has happened to me. I’m not proud.)

There can be deeper reasons than laziness for putting off important tasks. A difficult and stressful project might be put off because the idea of tackling something so challenging might be frightening, or because the potential consequences for doing a poor job is more stressful than the task itself.

Seemingly counterintuitively, procrastinating the task and making everything more difficult down the road is less frightening than the idea of failing at the job. People with anxiety issues are far more likely to procrastinate, as the fear of not doing a perfect job can be paralyzing.

“Procrastination … is the thief of our self-respect. It nags at us and spoils our fun. It deprives us of the fullest realization of our ambitions and hopes.” -President Thomas S. Monson, 2001

The “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality is problematic when it comes to things like homework, and downright illegal in some cases like taxes, but it’s truly dangerous in the case of spiritual matters. It might seem harmless to put off a temple trip in order to go see that new movie, or leave scripture study for another day, but falling into the habit of procrastinating on spiritually enriching activities can have long-term consequences.

If we decide that other things are more important than spiritual matters, when do we draw the line? How often will we replace our celestial priorities with insignificant worldly matters before we stop making it a priority at all? And why is this so dangerous?

But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head. -Helaman 13:38

If you’re looking in this article for tips on how to avoid procrastination, I haven’t got any. Honestly, I could use your advice more than you could use mine. But I do have a warning for you.

I don't think this clock is regulation.
It’s temple-thirty!

Spiritual matters must be our first priority at all times. Besides emergencies and unavoidable duties, there is no legitimate reason to put off scripture study, temple trips, and other church activities. We cannot take our salvation lightly. Day-to-day responsibilities, hobbies, and other activities are not as important as our souls.

Even breathing comes second.