Are You a Dawdler or a Lollygagger?
Did you put off filing your income taxes until the last minute again this year? Do you continually struggle with deadlines, surf the Web instead of paying the bills, and prefer distraction to action? If so, I have the perfect self-help book for you. The Art of Procrastination, written by John Perry, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University, claims to be the effective guide to the art of dawdling, lollygagging and postponing. The author, famous for his essay "Structured Procrastination" which won the Ig Nobel Prize for Literature in 2011, has filled this little book with clever anecdotes and ideas designed to make us procrastinators feel better about the things we do get done rather than focus on those we do not. Other self-help books dealing with procrastination try to motivate you to change by telling you how awful you are, but not this one. Structured procrastination is based on the theory that, believe it or not, you can get a lot of things done by putting them off. In other words, it is important to consider all the other things you accomplished while not working on that one thing you were supposed to.
I recently completed a psychology class and found it fascinating. Why do we do the things we do? Maybe that is why I enjoyed this little book so much. Even though psychology differs from philosophy, they both help us understand ourselves and the reasons behind some of our behaviors. In The Art of Procrastination, Professor Perry suggests that there is a fine line between being a procrastinator and a perfectionist. For example, a procrastinator may actually put off completing a task because they are afraid of failing to do it perfectly. Interesting theory. Chapter six was my favorite chapter in this book. It helped me realize why my desk at home is such a mess. I have it "horizontally organized", meaning I like all the things I am working on spread out in front of me so I will be encouraged to keep working on them. If I run out of time before I am finished, scoop everything up and file it away, I won't see it and remember to keep working on it. That makes perfect sense to me.
So, stop feeling guilty about dawdling and lollygagging and do as the book tells you -"Seize Tomorrow!"