The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done
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The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  452 ratings  ·  86 reviews
DON'T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK: The world's leading expert on procrastination uses his groundbreaking research to offer understanding on a matter that bedevils us all. Writing with humour, humanity and solid scientific information reminiscent of Stumbling on Happiness and Freakonomics, Piers Steel explains why we knowingly and willingly put off a course of action despite rec...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Prentice Hall Life (first published January 1st 2010)
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Oh my God do I need this book. I actually put off buying this book for a couple of weeks after seeing it in our local indie bookstore, and finally bit the bullet and bought it yesterday. Finished it today, proving one of the authors points--that we tend to dive into things that are relevant and of value to us. Once I go the book, I found it relevant and of value. The first six chapters of the book are all about the science behind the study of procrastination. It ISN'T about perfectionism--it has...more
Would like to get to this book eventually....
I was interested to learn that even pigeons and chimpanzees procrastinate. Somehow that makes me feel better, that I share this tendency with the entire animal kingdom.

The author also points out that nobody procrastinates in every facet of their life. There is always something that we do promptly and regularly without agonizing about it.

For me there are two factors: value and impulsiveness. I procrastinate about the things that I don't really value (e.g. housework). And I did learn a technique...more
Very good. Seriously, halfway through reading this book I had a crazy burst of productivity. The action chapters are great, the science/history chapters somewhat less interesting, especially when you are reading the book to seek help!
With over 90% of "Good Reads" readers giving it a positive rating, it looks like I did well and, it being in the self-help category, I did good too. The ones who like it best turns out to be someone who is educated or at least appreciates that everything is scientifically backed, likes a wry sense of humour, and really wants to do something about their procrastination. They also don't hold my constructed characters, a vehicle to illustrate some techniques, to too high a literary standard; still,...more
I loved this. This was by far my favorite book on this subject which is my largest personal challenge in life.

I have not researched any of his sources and the many studies the author cites, and I do not plan to, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of his book in the sense of larger society or science. But he does reference a LOT of experts and studies in various fields including economics, sociology, psychology, biology and more. It appeared to me that this author was EXTREMELY well versed in th...more
Having been personally shamed by the author into finishing the book, I upgraded my rating from three stars to four and my tagline from "less stupid than many self-help books" to "an intelligent self-help book." It gave me some good ideas, though I kept putting off finishing it for some reason. Ha! Procrastination joke! I recommended it to my shrink as a resource for people who want to read more about dealing with procrastination. I would read more books by the author.

Actually, I'd really like to...more
Byron Wright
This similar to another book that I recently read on willpower. However, I much preferred the style of this book. That said, my wife read about 20 pages and was bored to tears.

This book really grabbed me because the early chapters talk about the ways that we procrastinate and why. In the midst of these examples, I saw a few that described me exactly.

The end of the book focuses on ways to prevent procrastination. I'm sure you will have heard of every technique listed there. However, seeing them i...more
So what does it say about me that I started this book and had to return it to the library before I got to chapter 3?

Okay, I finally finished this book. I think it helped that I listened to it. I really did like it, but I can't say it offered anything new or useful to me. Mostly it was a good reminder and motivator to procrastinate less. I like self help books and how they get me to reflect on how things are going.

I must say, I don't think I really cared for the author's style all that much. He s...more
Ian Burrell
I bought this book on impulse at a train station on the commute to work. Since reading the book I have learned that impulsiveness is a cause of procrastination.

The book it an interesting read, exploring the psychological, cultural and social origins and causes of procrastination.

Through understanding how and why we procrastinate, with a few helpful tips, the book arms us to deal with our excessive procrastination.

It's early days, and I still procrastinate, but now I know I'm procrastinating and...more
Sigh. The opening chapters on the brain and how it works, how it programmed towards procrastination is very good, but could have been seriously condensed. Chapter 5 & 6 (Personal and Economic cost of procrastination) are annoying, unnecessary and overly long. I skimmed the end of chapter 6 because seriously, it's obvious information and had been covered in 5 and the beginning of 6 more than enough.

I am cautiously hopeful that Steel will have *something* useful to say in the remaining 100 pag...more
Pulkit Kriplani
I really need to curb off my habitual procrastination. And I thought this book would do it for me. How wrong I was.

It starts off well by explaining what causes procrastination in psychological and evolutionary terms and I am glad to have gained that knowledge. The tendency that saved us ages ago has become risky in the modern world where we continuously need to control our urges and think on a long-term basis. Then there were a few chapters putting down the negative impact of procrastination on...more
Well, this book was not the Silver Bullet I had hoped for, since it did not cure me of the procrastination curse.

I am writing this review a year or so after reading the book, and my main takeaway was that the author blames impulsiveness for procrastination. That is an intriguing new thought that I had never had before, but in the end it didn't do anything to help me to stop procrastinating. But like all good ideas and insights, hopefully it is fermenting (not rotting!) in my brain on a slow boi...more
Jonathan Widell
The author, Dr Piers Steel, takes good care of the reader right away. You know, it would be so easy to get bogged down in making jokes, just as I was: for instance, I kept telling myself to get that book instead of putting it off any longer etc. etc. Luckily, I did get the book. The author is wise enough to go through the motions and indulge in those self-deprecating jokes, just to get them out of the way. But then we are down to business. If you are too lazy to take the quiz in the first chapte...more
Oct 20, 2013 Allison is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
10/20/13 - I checked this book out of library because of this sentence on the book jacket - "...or if you think you procrastinate because you're a perfectionist -- you're wrong." I'm a horrible procrastinator. Currently, I have a test tomorrow that I'm not fully prepared for and a paper due tomorrow that I've not completed. I chronically have a list of projects/chores/errands to complete that I put off for trivial reasons. I'm never happy with the current state of my (1) home, (2) school-work, (...more
I skimmed this book and thought it was moderately interesting. I have always been curious about procrastination because I am at heart a planner and only rarely procrastinate (but when I do, it's always in the same areas). It turns out that procrastination is about impulsivity. Things I get really impulsive about: not sticking to a diet (I.e. bingeing on chocolate or bingeing on coffee/caffeine), letting myself get ridiculously behind on laundry that needs to be hand washed, and not finishing art...more
Ivan Vukovic
This could possibly be the best self-help book I've ever read.

What makes it so great is that it isn't just a self-help book, it's a rich journey through the efforts put into understanding procrastination as a part of human nature and the results of those efforts.

This is NOT your average The Guide to Perfect Life™ supported by "I promise this will help you", ancient mystical techniques or anecdotal evidence.

This... is science... and Steel's integrational and inter-disciplinary approach to this su...more
I picked this up with high expectations because Dan Ariely gave it a positive review. The key ideas are worthwhile, but Steel's laboured explanations are tedious and his tone is sometimes irritatingly smug. The studies in the references sound interesting, but sadly, they're barely glossed over in the book.
I love this book! This self-help book, teaches all readers many useful skills. I learnt the causes of procrastination, and what we can do to prevent it. The book gives us many scientific research to backup the information given, so I never doubt what was written in there. The author kept the story interesting from the first page to the very last page of the book, and I always want to continue reading the book to find out more. Lastly, the book does not only gives us information, it also tells us...more
I just finished this book tonight, and I think i'm going to go back and read through all the advice and action steps for stopping procrastination. But I will say that this was probably one of my favorite self-help books i've ever read. The author was interesting to read, engaging (which he comments on - he said he has to be engaging in order to keep us procrastinators interested!), and backed by a lot of science (the last 70 pages were references and citations).

A lot of good advice, and sound re...more
This is a really good book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve on how they work and their daily lives. This book covers everything you would want to know about procrastinating-from how it works in our brain to how we can make changes to create better work flow. I liked the book as it wasn't all just science but had practical advice and real world stories. The advice was was to the point and seemed so easy to implement. I even wrote notes from this book and you know a book is good w...more
it really shed light on all those "WHY AM I DOING THIS??!!" moments. well-written, well-referenced plus it has good sense of humor. As a student living an incredibly chaotic life, i highly recommend it. can't wait to apply all those promising strategies.^^
Charlotte Harper
There are two pages in the section of hints for those who procrastinate because of their impulsiveness that I'm thinking of scanning in, blowing up, framing and hanging on wall. But it's all excellent. I now know I'm not alone, that I'm stuck with this problem, and that there are ways to work around it. So far best tip has been to go with the whole 'I'll just tidy the house and finish off all this paperwork before I get on with proofreading/listening to uni lectures/marking/writing my review of...more
It took me a while to get around to reading this. I haven't checked other reviews but I trust that joke appears in each of them. There were excellent ideas in there, if the book is to be believed, they're the best ideas for combatting procrastination that are currently known. As an incorrigible procrastinator I hope to gather some empirical evidence of my own. Interestingly, I found the first half less engaging than the second. I think that's what made me take so long to read this book. There ar...more
Don't feel like reading more psychobabble with no practical purpose
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cherie In the Dooryard
This is dull in the beginning and schlocky at the end, but in the middle he lays out a pretty compelling explanation of procrastination, why it is becoming an insidious problem in contemporary society, and how chronic procrastinators can help themselves. Of particular interest to me was the concept that where one falls on his "equation", in other words, WHY one procrastinates, has a direct impact on how to address the problem.

This is a well-done book, even if it requires some plowing through in...more
I liked that it was all researched-based, and it defined procrastination in a way that let you reflect on how you operate. The solutions he offered were very simple, and specific to different types of procrastination and procrastinators. He also talked about goals in a way that didn't make me gag--a first for me. The last chapter was super cheesy and did make me gag. But overall it was great food for thought. Whether I implement any of his suggestions, we'll have to see if I get around to it.
Roberto Machorro
I really enjoyed this book and I'm recommending it left and right. This is not your standard self-help book, don't expect the usual rah-rah anecdotes. This book explains from a scientific point of view, procrastination.

If you are somebody that thinks laziness and procrastination are related, you are wrong. If you are impatient, read this book!

The author's approach is humorous and pleasant enough, that went the content deepens, it's still easy to digest.
Malvika Katarya
I could really identify with a lot of the examples and scored woefully on all the questionnaires, so I'm a chronic procrastinator. The strategies which Prof Steel came up with are actually quite simple and logical; seeing so many possible ways to tackle procrastination was very heartening.

I definitely recommend reading the book, check out Chapter 11 in particular for solid advice on how to curb impulsiveness and encourage discipline.
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