The Wall Street Journal has an article by John Perry, author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing, titled How to Be a Better Procrastinator
Don’t be fooled: People who dawdle are often very productive. They just need to refine their delaying tactics. Perry gives advice
Last, but perhaps most important: Learn how to be less annoying to the non-procrastinators around you. For starters, be honest. Admit that you are a procrastinator, and admit that it is a flaw. Maybe someday you will no longer be a procrastinator. After you lose 20 pounds, get in shape, polish up your high-school French, and write that novel, you may get around to pursuing some self-help regimen that will eliminate this flaw from your personality. But for now, don’t compound the flaw with denial. If you admit to being a procrastinator, others will probably try hard to find something nice to say about you.
He’s probably right, but procrastinating is not only an art: it can be elevated to a science.
How so? By making lists. A skilled procrastinator can make a list of 20 items, and knock off item after item; the trick is to list everything you not only need to do but also what you feel like doing. . . or not.
Of course, watching the Olympics on TV is the perfect setting for your list-making. While you can watch sport on TV and on line all year long, it’s twice as rewarding to procrastinate by watching people lay their entire careers on the line in an event that is only judged every four years and hangs on a difference of fractions of a second while the judges’ politics may deny you a medal.
If you feel like reading a funny book, I recommend Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood. Imagine Hugo, Fidel and A’jad, a bitch named Karma and her mom, a Skipper, and a college professor, along with mutant termites, coming together in a plot only a twisted mind with a lot of Caribbean travel experience can concoct.
It helps that Mr. Buslik has been exposed to deconstructionist academics and Latin American headlines, but, fear not, he’s made it funny and you’ll laugh all along.
It is the perfect summer read, whether you’re at the beach on vacation, or on your hammock on staycation. However, unless you’re the kind that enjoys watching Snakes on a Plane while in-flight, it may be best if you don’t read it while on a cruise.
Hardcore procrastination will never be achieved without electronics, and what better than a Kindle, which allows you to gather an impressive library of free books (all of Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare and Trollope!) without having to dust them regularly.
Other books I have recently procrastinated by:
Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas is clear on the issue that conservatives should stand on principle and demand the same from their opponents. However, I found his prior book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning a lot more interesting.
WE’RE TIPPING OVER!: The Urgency to Rethink Government, Business, Heart and Soul! is a self-help book that goes into politics. Personal responsibility is the key issue.
The Power of Focus Tenth Anniversary Edition: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Confidence and Certainty is the anti-procrastinator of the bunch, as you can guess from the title. The book is divided by chapters structured with steps to follow towards a focusing strategy. For instance, Focusing Strategy #6, The Confidence Factor, has a 2-page explanation (“This chapter contains many practical strategies that will boost your confidence to an all-time high.”), followed by
Resolving Unfinished BUSINESS
- You can play the denial game.
- You can go into limbo.
- You can confront the issue head on.
Common Fears/Strategic plan to counteract fear (2 pages)
The Twenty-Five-Cent CHALLENGE
Forgive and FORGET
A Winning ATTITUDE
Six Confidence-Building STRATEGIES
- Every day remind yourself that you did some things well.
- Read inspiring biographies and autobiographies
- Be thankful.
- Build excellent support around you.
- Push yourself to accomplish short-term goals.
- Do something good for yourself every week.
Believe in your own CAPABILITY
- Know that you are worthy of love.
What to do if you HIT A SLUMP
- Recognize that you are in one.
- Remind yourself of a major accomplishment.
- Get back to basics.
ACTION STEPS (3-page worksheet)
If that’s not the anti-procrastinator, I don’t know what is.