Procrastination, as Webster 1913 correctly pointed out, is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as;

"The action or habit of procrastinating, or putting off; delay, dilatoriness."

I am a procrastinator. You have to work pretty hard not to be. It is a victory of Freud's id over the super-ego, which naturally explains why it is so enjoyable. Unfortunately, the ego then has to try to justify your inaction. I find myself justifying it by thinking that this will be a terribly interesting node for everyone to read, possibly during their own fits of procrastination? For some reason the law of contract and my imminent examination on the topic don't seem to interest me greatly at the moment.

The word procrastination derives from the latin "Procrastinatus" or "Procrastinare" and can be broken down to "Pro" meaning "forward/in front/before" and "Crastinus" meaning "of tomorrow/the future".

The words first recorded usage is from 1548 in Edward Hall's "Chronicle", also known as "The union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancestre and Yorke". The chronicals, quite apart from being an excellent eye-witness testimony to historians of the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York, were one of the chief sources to Shakespeare in his historical plays.

Ok, I'm deviating here, but perhaps this is a good example of procrastination in effect. I have reached the stage where typing for the sake of typing is more attractive to my currently unstimulated mind than the work I should be doing.

I'll just be quiet now...

and get some work done...


I was sitting in my room doing homework when a Tyrannosaurus Rex broke into my house! Its enormous jaw burst through my second story window, its yellow teeth as long as my arm glistening with hunger as it screamed in pain from the shards of broken glass. Luckily, I grabbed the flamethrower I keep next to my dresser (after pulling off the sweatshirt that I had left thrown on top of it) and shot a ten-foot jet of flame at the big lizard. That seemed to scare it off, so it started to head for my neighbors.

Now it looked like I could get some work done. But then! A huge black claw came out of my closet, grabbed my by the waist, and pulled me into some kind of demonic realm. I tumbled though an empty black void for several minutes, until I landed on the hard floor of an underground cave at the foot of a colossal throne made of human skulls. There Asmodeus, the Lord of Suffering, King of Sorrows, and Viceroy of Bad Breath offered me infernal knowledge and powers over the minds of men in exchange for my immortal soul, but I politely declined and said I had better get back to studying.

Back at my desk, I looked at what I had done. I had about three pages read out of the thirty that I needed to get done by tomorrow. I sighed. THIS time I would really get started, and I wouldn't stop until everything was finished! ...That is, once I got out of the way of the massive tidal wave that was headed for my house. As the water rose above my neck, I grabbed onto my desk and took a deep breath. The cold water surrounded me and I was carried away by the wave, still holding onto my floatation device. I couldn't tell which way was up, and the strong undercurrent kept me under for what seemed like forever. Just when I was about to lose consciousness, I burst through the surface, soaking wet and coughing water out of my lungs. I noticed my notebook floating next to me. It had miraculously stayed dry in an air pocket made by my bookshelf. I checked my pocket - yep, the pen was still there and hadn't been ruined by the water. I opened the notebook and began to study. Or at least try to.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm trying to get my homework done, but there are a lot of distractions.

Pro*cras`ti*na"tion (?), n. [L. procrastinatio: cf. F. procrastination.]

The act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off to a future time; delay; dilatoriness.

Procrastination is the thief of time. Young.


© Webster 1913.

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