Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Procrastinator's Digest - Book Review

I bought this if you'll remember after posting about my at times crippling procrastination.

I finally read it - quite quickly as it isn't a big tome.  I liked the style, each chapter is the same, there is a "mantra" to remember (I think it better to take these and develop your own but that is me), an example from the author's experience in research then some explanation and a smattering of cartoons to make the point memorably through gags.  There are some exercises for you to do to get you in the right zone to get over your procrastination in your particular situation.

So what have I learnt.  Actually that far more people are procrastinators than I thought, also that some of the thoughts I have that lead to procrastination are also common.  Really?!  Honestly I didn't think "normal" people would procrastinate over doing something due to a fear of failure... trust me I did think I was unique on that one... this is just my alcoholic self obsession showing through here!

Has it helped?  Well yes and no.  That is probably unfair - the point is (and it is stated in the book) you can't fix ingrained behaviour like this overnight.  I have got better, esp on things I want to do - I've done a bunch of stuff recently in some areas and it is simply as "I get started".  For example one of my bad rationalisations for procrastinating is "Oh I haven't time to do all that now.  I'll wait until I can finish it".  But I don't actually know how long it will take 'cos I've not done it!!!  So the other day for example I decided to start something and just leave it for another day if I didn't get it done by the time I needed to leave to go somewhere else... guess what?  I finished it all in loads of time!

I'm still struggling with some procrastination - at work mostly but I think that is a real fear around my insecurity in the new job I'm in - the department is still going through a change process and there is a lot of unrest in the place etc.  I'm frightened of upsetting the apple cart.   A dumb irrational fear and I need to work more on.

So as it says in Chapter 5 of Alcoholics Anonymous (the big book) "progress not perfection" :-)  We continue :-)


  1. I was going to wait until tomorrow to post and leave some smartass comment about procrastinating, but decided against it.
    I haven't even read it and it's working!

  2. The wifey once accused me of being a prcas..procrat..pro....thingy...

    My inability to say it, let alone spell it, led her to stop procrastinating....

    and I never said/wrote that..;-)

    This comment will self destruct in 5 seconds..;-)

  3. A lot of procrastination handbooks can be summarised in three words, "Just Do It". Much as I hate Nike, I do tend to nick their mantra and use it on myself when I'm being particularly resistant. No analysis, no discussion, just do it!

    Does it work? About 80% of the time, yes.

  4. I definitely should read this book! It does take courage to leave our comfort zone and to put ourselves "out there", and I for one, am certainly a master at inventing excuses as to why I "can't yet" get off my backside to achieve those goals I've set. Yet I know from past experience, the rewards for facing my fears far excells the frustration I feel for hiding on the sidelines. You go for it, Furtheron, truth is the only thing to really fear is the fear itself.

  5. Procrastination is the thief of time! I think we all suffer from this, especially if it's something undesirable or laborious. Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure by unfairly deciding 'there's not enough time' or 'I can't do this', when like you said, how do we know until we knuckle down and try?

    Sometimes the simple act of thinking about doing it puts us off, so best way is to probably think we can do it, even if there is still a chance we can't.

  6. I went to a Procrastination Workshop at Uni once and it was quite good. The bloke said if you're the type of person who leaves things till teh last minute, BUT they still get done to acceptable (or better) standards, then just do them at teh last minute and stop worrying in advance. That was quite liberating.

    But then I also read that Carlyle used to do three hours' work before breakfast, and found that that was such an efficient manner of him working that it released more free time.

    Anyway, that draining board needs a bit of a clean and then I suppose I should fold those clothes up over there and then I could do with aother coffee as it's a bit chilly and I need to get some bread...

  7. I think your whole life will be about progress not perfection...
    And most definitely this is not something you will change overnight... and maybe in some ways you'll be a procrastinator forever... maybe you just learn for which things you really need to get it done and which things you can leave for another day. :-)