Thos. Jefferson on Delays and Procrastination


“Delay is preferable to error.”


Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. [but] 13  Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions are madness [stupid folly]  14 they chatter on and on….and they 15  are so exhausted by a little work that they [delay] it as long as possible instead of doing the job at all.

                           Ecclesiastes 10

Yes Ecclesiastes is right; that is the difference:  procrastination is ignoring the problem, not working on it:   thinking, planning or researching it.  It is  acting like it is not there.  Being slow and hard working is different from  procrastination, though at a certain point it can be as you find yourself searching for messages on Facebook or any other mesaningless derision from your task.
Sometimes of course you do not know the answer, or do not have the tools so you put it aside but continuing to do that after a while that “side pile” is as big as Mount Aetna and then you come to realize, that everything, that life is in the side pile, and you’re just spinning your wheels.  That’s procrastination.
How to know the difference?  If you are exhausted by the thought of the work, it’s time to toss it out the window and move on.  It’s obviously got too much baggage associated with it  & dealing with that has become insurmountable.  Perhaps another time, another mood.
If you do not have the answer, pray for guidance and slowly a message will come that may give you the answer.  Do not give up on prayer if the answer does not come immediately — God works in his time not yours, and so walk and go out and pray.  Sleep on it.  Slowly it will percolate up as you discuss the problem with our heavenly father, but never give up.  Make a conscious decision to stop it or continue on, do not let it just rot in a pile of compost.

In my case, the problem was that I don’t have the room?  Then you are thinking too big and need to pare down until your dreams fit the room at hand.  Paula Nadelstern did her Kaleidoscopic Quilts on a Kitchen Table because 1) she wanted to quilt 2) had no other space.

The key is to make the dream fit your resources, not the other way around as then you are squandering your time and money, and both are precious…for we do not live forever, no matter how long it may seem.

I continued  work on this wall, neither bought we any land: [instead] all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.–Nehemiah v:  15-16

PIctures. 1. Thomas Jefferson  by Mather Brown.  London,1786. Copyprint of oil on canvas. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Bequest of Charles Francis Adams

#2   Painting of Mount Aetna. Italy by American Thomas Cole 19th century.
#3.  Kaleidoscope Quilt by Paula Nadelstern.

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