July 15, 2012

Review - The Art Of Procrastination (John Perry)

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. --

I knew it. We (that would be procrastinators) actually do something. We're not just lazy bums. Granted, usually we do things to avoid getting more pressing stuff done. Then again, nobody's perfect. Or are we? Apparently perfectionism leads to procrastination. Sounds right to me.
In The Art Of Procrastination John Perry takes the reader on a trip through the mind of procrastinators. Being rational by nature is what sets humans apart from other animals, of course that doesn't necessarily mean that we choose to do what we think is best for us. We are usually aware of things we need to get done, yet we don't. Being a procrastinator himself, the author sheds light on the inner workings of people with this affliction and he does so in a lighthearted and encouraging way.
One suggestion that personally never failed me (or the author apparently) is scratching minor tasks like getting out of bed and making tea from my mental to-do list. A surprisingly motivating if somewhat quirky method, I admit.
From the hazards of computers straight to surprising fringe benefits of procrastination, from being horizontally organized to the challenge of working with non-procrastinators, this little volume might not be based on any scientific facts, yet turned out to be an utterly enjoyable and clever read for me.
Highly recommendable to everyone who rather puts off what can be done today until the day after tomorrow!
In short: Self-deprecating and fun, spiced with only a pinch of self-help!

4/5 Trees

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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