ABCs of Procrastination
Thomas Jefferson said “never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.” Mark Twain, on the other hand, proposed “never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” Both philosophies have merit, but only Jefferson’s is admired.
Procrastination is, for many of us, a major source of stress. A good New Year’s Resolution (should you get around to making one) is to find ways to deal with procrastination. Here are a few resources to help you take on the problem.
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore - A lot is promised in the title of this book. It is straightforward and optimistic, with many examples. The first part looks at the why’s and how’s of procrastination. There are exercises that the reader can use to determine what is behind their own procrastination habits. With this groundwork established, the book looks at ways to deal with putting things off. There are many suggestions, including the “unschedule”, where work is scheduled around set times for exercise and rest. A final chapter discusses how to deal with others who procrastinate.
Procrastination: Why We Do It, What to Do About It Now by Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen - Similar to The Now Habit, this book also gets into the psychology of procrastination, and it also offers tips on how to change. There is more emphasis on the reasons we put things off, with a chapter on delving into your past in order to determine how procrastination has become a coping mechanism.
The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing by John Perry - A book about getting things done by putting them off, this little text offers a very amusing contrast to the previous two titles. The author acknowledges that he is a procrastinator, but has found ways to turn that into a positive. For instance, he has found procrastination to be an effective tool in getting other nasty things done instead. If the task you should be working on is too much for you to deal with, turn instead to the second and third items you are putting off. They will seem much more appealing by comparison, and this will allow you to finally get around to them. The author brings humor and intelligence to the process of what he calls “structured procrastination.” There are useful tips here in this lighthearted book.