The Seven Deadly Sins & Why You Haven’t Finished That Thing*

Seven Deadly SinsPride wants it to be perfect, because you should be producing brilliance, and you should be ashamed not to be producing brilliance. So you don’t work on it, because so far it is neither perfect nor brilliant.

Envy is too busy worrying about whether other people have already done it better, and how you can possibly measure up, to let you do any work.

Covetousness is more interested in the trappings of work than in the work itself. It wants new tools, new materials, and for you to do nothing until you have all the stuff. (You can never have all the stuff, so you do nothing.)

Wrath comes to your aid to lacerate you for your failure, and to blame other people for taking up your time with other things. It doesn’t help.

Gluttony is a distraction, and so is Lust (lust for all kinds of things), diverting your attention to your own comfort and pleasure. When work is in any way hard, temptations beckon you away.

Sloth looks like the main problem, but it may only be the servant of all the others. (Who cares? It doesn’t matter… Blehh…) It’s the simple desire not to work, even with the work is good. It’s senseless, brainless, sluggish; there is no joy in it. Should you fight it first or last—or both?

* And by “you” I mean “I.”


  • Posted March 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I can relate to ALL of this! A new way of looking at procrastination – its causes and consequences.

    • Posted March 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know whether to say I’m glad that this resonates, or I’m sorry that it does! You know what I mean. The Seven Deadly Sins remain a pretty helpful framework. I’ve been trying to think about the difference between procrastination and sloth, and this was one attempt to tease it out.

  • Rachel
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    This is great Alice! (well, I mean it is a serious, sobering reflection on the human condition).

  • jennifer
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Yes yes yes!

  • Mike Albright
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Eerie how well you know me curse these sins!!!!!! I need absolution.

  • Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Indeed! We all do. But it is available.

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