Procrastination- the action of delaying or postponing something.
Leonardo is known today as the supreme genius of the Italian Renaissance—but at the time he had a reputation as a daydreamer who never actually finished anything. No one doubts that he was a man of incredible talent. He explored almost every field available to him, in both science and art. He made significant contributions in engineering, architecture, biology, botany, anatomy, math, and physics. He sculpted, painted both portraits and murals, and made plans for ingenious machines that wouldn’t be built for centuries (e.g., planes, helicopters and submarines). But he also never finished a project on time.
The North might have won the US Civil War a lot faster if not for the procrastination of General McClellan, who was renowned for his meticulous preparation of the Union army. “If he can’t fight himself, he excels in making others ready to fight,” Lincoln said of him. Except the endless preparation was a form of procrastination; when the chips were down, McClellan couldn’t bring himself to go into battle.
In 1862, the general hesitated and missed a great opportunity to capture Richmond from Robert E. Lee’s men. Later that same year he dillydallied both before and after the battle of Antietam, squandering a two-to-one advantage over Lee. Some analysts say the delays made the war drag on by three extra years.
“There is an immobility here that exceeds all that any man can conceive of,” wrote another Union general, Henry Halleck, of McClellan. “It requires the lever of Archimedes to move this inert mass.”