Edgar Allen Poe on Procrastination

You think you procrastinate too much? Edgar Allen Poe was also plagued by the problem, as he  explained in his psychological inquiry, “The Imp of the Perverse.” But few of us have ever rationalized our inaction so eloquently:

We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. We glow, we are consumed with eagerness to commence the work, with the anticipation of whose glorious result our whole souls are on fire. It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow, and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. To-morrow arrives, and with it a more impatient anxiety to do our duty, but with this very increase of anxiety arrives, also, a nameless, a positively fearful, because unfathomable, craving for delay. This craving gathers strength as the moments fly. The last hour for action is at hand. We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us,–of the definite with the indefinite–of the substance with the shadow. But, if the contest have proceeded thus far, it is the shadow which prevails,–we struggle in vain. The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer- note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies–it disappears–we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!

I wonder what organization guru David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, would say about that?

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One thought on “Edgar Allen Poe on Procrastination

  1. Pingback: Posts about Getting Things Done as of July 8, 2009 | GTDThings.com

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