If patience is a virtue, how does procrastination fit in the picture? I found myself asking that question on the way to the office this morning. Yes, it’s the 5th and I will be one of the few people on campus. So it’s a good time to reflect on the relationship between the two, if there is onr. Truthfully and unfortunately, I am very good at both of these. With a mantra of “progress not perfection” patience just sort of fits. But, if I am not careful, procrastination can also fit. As I walked in I observed nature and ongoing construction. Each of these provide some insights on how the two fit.
First, as I thought about nature and these two words I saw grass that is growing quickly. Unlike a lot of the country, eastern NC has had a lot of rain with a fair amount of sunshine. We need to be patient and let grass grow. With the right combination it grows well. So patience can pay off. But if one of the ingredients is missing and we wait too long, it’s not patience, but procrastination and we can quickly kill our lawn.
Then I passed two classrooms that we are turning into collaborative classrooms with collaboration technologies and workspaces. Very cool. But they were supposed to be done already and they are no where close (nothing like a state contract ;-). Again, everything has to be in its time. We can’t put the desks and technology in before the infrastructure is in place. It takes time to do it right and if it is rushed important pieces can be missed (which is one of the reasons the project is behind). But if we continue to move along slowly and patience becomes procrastination we will find ourselves at the start of the semester with non-functional classrooms. Not a good thing.
So how does all this fit for us? While both imply waiting the difference is patience moves us forward and procrastination holds us back. Patience tends to be active while procrastination tends to be passive. When we are patient we are actively involved in the process. When we procrastinate we are avoiding the process. Reflection reveals that when I have procrastinated I have often paid the price. But when I have been patient I have reaped a reward.
My goal is more patience less procrastination. The key will be identifying each early in the process. Sprinkle patience at the appropriate times while pulling procrastination early before it gets out of control.