The Art of Procrastination
A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing
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This is not a book for Bill Gates. Or Hillary Clinton, or Steven Spielberg. Clearly they have no trouble getting stuff done. For the great majority of us, though, what a comfort to discover that we’re not wastrels and slackers, but doers . . . in our own way. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to philosopher John Perry, you can accomplish a lot by putting things off. He calls it “structured procrastination”:
In 1995, while not working on some project I should have been working on, I began to feel rotten about myself. But then I noticed something. On the whole, I had a reputation as a person who got a lot done and made a reasonable contribution. . . . A paradox. Rather than getting to work on my important projects, I began to think about this conundrum. I realized that
I was what I call a structured procrastinator: a person who gets a lot done by not doing other things.
Celebrating a nearly universal character flaw, The Art of Procrastination is a wise, charming, compulsively readable book—really, a tongue-in-cheek argument of ideas. Perry offers ingenious strategies, like the defensive to-do list (“1. Learn Chinese . . .”) and task triage. He discusses the double-edged relationship between the computer and procrastination—on the one hand, it allows the procrastinator to fire off a letter or paper at the last possible minute; on the other, it’s a dangerous time suck (Perry counters this by never surfing until he’s already hungry for lunch). Or what may be procrastination’s greatest gift: the chance to accomplish surprising, wonderful things by not sticking to a rigid schedule. For example, Perry wrote this book by avoiding the work he was supposed to be doing—grading papers and evaluating dissertation ideas. How lucky for us.
The Art of Procrastination
Being a type "A" individual I never really thought I struggled with procrastination. After all, I accomplished a lot every day and had the actions crossed off my "to do" list to prove it. Yet with minimal self reflection effort at times when the world slowed down enough for a thought or two, I realized that I did delay projects that were either less interesting or more complex and chose to get through others until I had a deadline creeping up on me. That is as this book explains structured procrastination. I think in some ways, we all follow this path from time to time.
This book is a quick and insigtful read that will have you come away feeling less guilty and pretty good about yourself. Dont' put it off any longer!