Procrastination is the thief of time!

“Yeah. Right. Of course you will. No. Wrong. You didn’t, did you? Ooh, you’re going to write a blog every Friday. Ooh, your 2.4 readers will hang off your every word.”

“I didn’t actually say that.”

“No but you hoped they would, don’t deny it and there’s more: Ooh, your every utterance will be of national importance. Ooh a book deal will surely follow.”

“I definitely didn’t say that. No way. That’s pretentious and arrogant and egotistical”

“You bloody did say that.”

“I bloody didn’t. I’m not like that.”




“Alright, already! Cut me some slack, won’t you? I’ve been very busy. There was this, there was that and there was stuff, very important stuff. I was ‘attending to matters of consequence’”

“Don’t pretend knowledge by quoting The Little Prince at me. What ‘stuff’.”

“Finishing Harley Hut 2, a eulogy for a dear friend who passed, crewing on a Channel swim, running, the strain of getting on an aeroplane after six months. Just stuff.”

“Not good enough. That’s five subjects you could have written about right there. Don’t say you’re going to do something and then abjectly fail to deliver. If you didn’t think you could hold to something you shouldn’t have declared you would in the first place. Do you want my advice?”

“What? No. Who the hell are you anyway? What’s that echo and buzzing in my head?”

“I am your Conscience, you numb nut. Conscience with a capital C. Left shoulder, right shoulder. You need to take a long hard look at yourself, you under-achieving eejit.  I am very disappointed in you. In fact, I feel very let down.”

“What? Aren’t you being a bit….. dramatic?”

“No, I’m not. You’re an idiot, with a capital I. In fact all of that word as a capital. I could allow one lapse a couple of weeks into this not prize winning blog, when you didn’t post on a Friday when you said you would, but it’s been three weeks now since your last post and you’re taking the …….!!!”

“Well, I think that’s a bit …….”

“Don’t interrupt. So, as you are clearly incapable and utterly unreliable, here’s the new deal. You will rescind your promise to write a blog every Friday because you have already failed miserably in what, frankly, wasn’t a difficult ask. You will now tell your dwindling readership – even 2.4 is ambitious and not verifiable – and say you will write a blog every week, not necessarily every Friday. Now, will you do that?”




“Say sorry.”

“You’re pushing it.”

“Say sorry.”


“Who, revamped your website and showed you how to post Blogs?”

“Sophie Clarke.”

“Did she do a good job?”

“Well, yes, an excellent job.”

“Good. I’ll get her to shut you down. I can do that.”

“OK, OK. Don’t do that. I’m sorry 2.4 readers and dwindling. I shouldn’t have been so specific. Now leave me alone Conscience. I’m wounded.”

Well, that was a bit harsh don’t you think?  Being taken to task like that by my Conscience. I mean, yes, in all honesty every admonishment was justified and deserved but, still, it was a bit full on. I did have every good intention to post every Friday but stuff happens, hey?

Yes, I want to be a writer? Yes, I want to write a book. Look, this is writing isn’t it?  If you write doesn’t that mean you are a writer? Does a blog count? 

“What else have you written?  Have you been published?”

“You again. I’m ignoring you. Sod off, I’m still wounded.”

Actually, I have written lots of articles these past few years – around a hundred or more – for a local magazine in Jersey and a few for Outdoor Swimmer. OK, maybe that’s not prolific, but it’s a start.

‘Procrastination is the thief of time.’  You’ve heard that phrase, right? Me too but I didn’t know it was written by English writer, Edward Young, in his poem Night Thoughts in 1742.  I attributed it, in an earlier post, to Charles Dickens but he had tacked it on to another line about not delaying until tomorrow what you can do today. Here is Young’s reference in context:

Be wise to-day; ’tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is push’d out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.

Put that into modern parlance and you could say:

Don’t p*ss ball about today, just do it.

Tomorrow you’ll find another pathetic excuse

Which will be empty of substance and a lie

Year after year you say, “I’ll do that,”

And you don’t.

Check your birth date

The sand of the life glass cannot pass up hill.

I’m thinking this post is less a blog, more a purging of extraneous. I could write that book. Why not? Who said I couldn’t?

What’s the inhibitor? Well, I know what it is and it’s a euphemism for life really, or my life really. I don’t think I’ve said this on a previous post but, if I have any talent to declare, and it’s certainly not my genius, it’s that I have a very clear vision of a project concept.  Call that A.  I also have a very clear vision of an end game, the finished piece, work or project.  Call that Z. 

Those two visions are crystal clear. The problem is all the letters in-between.  Call that B to Y.  No, don’t call it B to Y. Call it the search for perfection or let’s not do it. Or procrastination, postponement, stalling, putting off. If I can’t do perfect today perhaps I will tomorrow. Well, tomorrow came and it went and a little bit more sand passed inexorably through the narrow middle of the glass.

I sat down to write this blog thinking, “How can I explain to the 2.4 why I haven’t posted for three weeks. One of the 2.4 actually messaged to ask if I was OK. Bless you for your kind thought. A thousand words later and I think I know the answer.

All I need to do now is to act. Yes, act. But, first, I just need to sharpen all the pencils, Hoover, tidy, shop, shower and “Attend to matters of consequence.” Oh, it’s bedtime. Maybe tomorrow then.

“No, No, NO!! That’s not the way to do it. Procrastination is the thief of time., you eejit!”

9 thoughts on “Procrastination is the thief of time!”

  1. Brilliant. I find myself procrastinating but then working great under the pressure to get the job done last minute. Not ideal. But I’m good under pressure.
    Thanks Cliffy

  2. Love reading this. You are so inspiring Cliff. You have a real talent, as a writer and a speaker. Get working on that book because there’s lots of people who want to read it.

    A Thimbledare podcast would be fab too.

  3. This is absolutely me to a treat! I procrastinate all the time, talking myself in and out of things!! So funny, but you Cliff are a legend! You have got this just right!!! Love your blogs!!!
    Just keep them coming (Friday or Monday or whenever, it’s nice to read it!)

  4. Cliff wondering around his garden having a conversation with himself is a normal thing to see. Are you taking to me Cliff no sorry Tracy im arguing with myself, classic.

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