On Procrastination

Procrastinate sounds like a positive word.  I mean it begins with “pro” so it could not be a bad word.  Professional, product, produce, procreate, proclivity, procure, proclaim…. these are all positive words.  Even http://www.dictionary.com defines pro as an adverb  (“in favor of”) and a noun (“a proponent of an issue”).  So if pro is in favor… what is crastination?

According to the An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language By Walter William Skeat (so easily accessed with Google Books!) crastinus: put off to the morrow, belonging to the morrow.

So the word is actually in favor of tomorrow.  We all want tomorrow right?.  What’s wrong with waiting until tomorrow?  Well I suppose putting off til tomorrow happens every day and so each tomorrow goes by with nothing happening. But let’s not leap to assumptions, perhaps the Oxford English Dictionary can clarify things.

procrastination

  1. The action or habit of postponing or putting something off; delay, dilatoriness. Often with the sense of deferring though indecision, when early action would have been preferable.

Dilatoriness? Now that sounds dainty. Like procrastinators are also cute.  But according to the OED, it means to have the tendency to procrastinate.   A dilatory plea sounds romantic, but alas it is just a “a plea put in for the sake of delay.”

But I digress, because I believe (in all self-centeredness) that the OED is speaking to me with the phrase “when early action would have been preferable.”  Isn’t that the truth?  Earlier action would have been preferable, but instead, I caused my brain more stress by ignoring early action and cruising the internet to read about procrastination.  At least I did not put it off until tomorrow.

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