Friday feels. This is what you told yourself on a Monday morning. Like any other day, you do not feel like doing the things that need to be done. Tomorrow is the day you will do what you wished you had done today. You blame it on the lack of motivation, and so you do other things, hoping that the task will go away. You changed the wallpaper of your desktop, selected a suitable theme for your email, and chose the best font for your report.
Three days before the deadline, you panic. You spend three sleepless nights, and that is when you were able to finish the task. The output may not be that excellent but, phew, you did it. The question is—are you satisfied with your output? Do you think you could have done better?
Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. It is the force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do. It seems that the act of procrastinating is timeless. 535 years ago, when the Friars of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception asked Leonardo da Vinci to create a painting of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child for the altar of their chapel, the artist agreed to have it finished in seven months; however, it took him 25 years to complete the project. The famous Mona Lisa even took da Vinci 15 years to complete. Although da Vinci is considered a Renaissance man and a genius of art and design, he was, without a doubt, like all of us (I assume) a certified procrastinator.
In a TED Talk, internet writer Tim Urban explains what happens in the mind of a procrastinator and why one waiting until the last minute leaves a lot of people feeling unfulfilled. Urban says that everyone procrastinates, but deadline-driven procrastination similar to the situation above differs from situational procrastination. When there is no real deadline, the panic monster does not appear, which Urban says is the real source of frustration. In the Philippines, we experience situational procrastination, a long-term procrastination, more especially in terms of disaster preparedness.
Over the years, a significant global increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and other force majeure has happened not only in the Philippines, but across the world. This is expected to further increase if climate change continues. The Philippines is particularly prone to typhoons and other disasters, and so emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction initiatives are essential.
However, have we really imbibed in us the need to take precautionary measures? Or are we just waiting for something bad to happen before we make a move? Procrastination is keeping us from being prepared. Even if the local and national government and civil society have exerted efforts in providing disaster education and emergency training programs to raise awareness and to promote self-reliance, such things would go to waste if we do not act on them.
In the past month, we have witnessed an earthquake striking Mindanao. People have suffered the consequences of this natural disaster. Recovery will indeed take time as others look for ways to rebuild the properties that were destroyed, as they were not expecting this disaster to happen. If only we prepared and had done the things we were told to do, damage would be minimized. Preparing for a disaster does not have to be difficult. Even if nothing happens, there is peace of mind that comes in knowing that, if a disaster did strike, we would be ready. On the bright side, if we are to look for inspiration in these tragedies, it is the display of kindness toward helping victims and by providing spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial assistance to our fellow Filipinos.
Long-term procrastination is indeed a serious disease that needs to be cured. We need to take care of ourselves and do our part. As per Proverbs 6:4 cites, “Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.” The fact that we procrastinate does not mean that we are lazy and inefficient. We put things off maybe because we don’t really want to do them, we have many other things on our plates or we are afraid of failure, that even if we do our best, our best is still wanting. Let us focus harder on the goals that we are procrastinating on. Dig a little deeper. Figure out why. And then actually DO something about it. The next time you find yourself promising to check in your social media accounts for 10 minutes and ended having a screen time of 2 hours, slap and remind yourself that it is better to finish the task at hand and enjoy the rest of the day doing the things the you wanted to do. Rather than saying “I must do it”, tell yourself, “I choose to do it now”.
Today, let us take the first major step in accomplishing something big that will eventually benefit us. If we do not do it now, we might regret it later.
Jobelle Bongato is a Semi-Senior in the Audit and Assurance division of the P&A Grant Thornton Cebu office. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 23 Partners and over 900 staff members. We are in Makati, Cavite, Cebu and Davao. For comments on this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or PAGrantThornton.email@example.com. For our services,visit www.grantthornton.com.ph. Follow us on Twitter: pagrantthornton, and FB: P&A Grant Thornton.
As published in Mindanao Times, dated 10 December 2019