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Mary Kenny: Procrastination may well be the thief of time, but it's often also the midwife of creativity 

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Procrastination, 'tis said, is "the thief of time". "Never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today," we are prudently advised. Duties are "put on the long finger". Decisions are "kicked into the long grass", while a procrastinating process of "kicking the can down the road" takes place.

More procrastination arises when there is more choice. People in the past were frog-marched into decisions and regimented into lifestyles. The factory horn sounded at 8am. The meal was on the table at 1pm. If you missed the bus, you walked. If you didn't gather in the harvest, you starved. If you don't accept this marriage proposal, daughter, you might never get another one. We have more choice now, so we are freer to defer all kinds of decisions.

An agony aunt who deals with etiquette questions receives more complaints about invitees failing to RSVP than almost anything else - as when a hostess is in despair with the caterers because more than half her invitees haven't confirmed whether they're attending or not.

But it's not just bad manners that causes such procrastination. It's also choice. People are keeping their options open for a future date: they may also be waiting to see if something better turns up.

I read an article recently in which a young woman was writing about "errand........

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