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Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It
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Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,141 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Based on years of counseling, psychologists Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen offer a probing, sensitive, and sometimes humorous look at the problem that troubles everyone. Revealing the reasons we put off tasks-fears of failure, success, control, separation, and attachment-the authors outline a practical, tested program to overcome procrastination. Candid and understanding ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 4th 2004 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published December 31st 1982)
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3.90  · 
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 ·  1,141 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'll get to this eventually...

Update 1/20/2012. Amazing! It changed my life! I'm going to review this right now! 4.5 stars.

Update 2/23/2012. So I found that in the 2nd half of the book, there were a lot of exercises that were meant to help you change your procrastinating ways. But I found that instead of doing the exercises then, it was more to my liking to just read about it and decide to do the exercises later. Maybe I need a more powerful intervention.
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Written in classic simplified self-help language, but got a lot of good in it. First half is a shattering look at exactly who I am and what I'm afraid of in vast portions of my life. Anxiety sure can suck, and this one slices my wounded psyche up into little pieces and lays them out in bullet points; the "Cycle of Procrastination" bit was enough to put a pit into my stomach from sheer in-the-moment recollection.

As everyone else syas, second half is a much vaguer look at working one's way out of
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
What I like about this book is that it tackles procrastination in two sections: why you're doing it, and what to do about it. The why part is fascinating, especially when you expand beyond your own procrastination and start applying it to other people in your life, especially co-workers. The "what to do about it" part is a little less mind-blowing, although still useful.
Biggaletta Day
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is more likely USEFUL if you are STUCK or DESPERATE otherwise it will probably be tossed aside as a dry and boring and tedious read. And you probably need to be past your early thirties with 'where the hell has my life gone' moments. Otherwise probably not much use. You still have potential.

This book is about confronting the important things or goals we put off in life.

I say this because I've read a lot of bad reviews, and I agree with them. However the review readers probably wanted m
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Probably one of the most comprehensive overviews of the causes of procrastination that I've read. I think this book does a really good job of demonstrating that procrastination is a complex thing, with many possible causes behind it. I particularly liked the discussion of how some procrastinators have a different relationship with time than non-procrastinators - I've personally found that a lot of my procrastination comes not so much from a reluctance to do a task but from things like vastly und ...more
Levent Bayindir
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology

- Well grounded book.
- Good selection of topics.
- Added value to my understanding of procrastination. (!)
- Some relations of procrastination are interesting. (e.g. procrastination vs. time, procrastination vs. childhood)
- "Living and Working with Procrastinators" chapter is a good contribution imo. Especially the part named "Summary of suggestions for parents".
- And very very specifically, i liked this compact definition of happiness:
"Happiness comes from living well, according to your
Hrag Saatjian
May 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a tremendous piece of crap this book is. The two authors of this book admit that they have major issues with procrastination themselves and hardly got around to writing the book.

The book is made out of 2 parts. Part 1 discusses WHY we procrastinate. All that section does is put the blame on others. "You are procrastinating because your parents....blah blah". If you want an excuse to why you are procrastinating and not feel as bad about it, this book is for you. Just a bunch of excuses.

The s
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dynamic psychological report on procrastination, and what you can do about it

Approaching unwelcome tasks with an “I’ll do it tomorrow” mindset is not unusual behavior. The problem is, tomorrow quickly becomes today, so the procrastinator sets a new tomorrow goal. This tomorrow goal eventually becomes a next week goal, then a next month goal, then a next year goal – that is, a never goal. Time runs out for everyone, but it does so far more quickly for procrastinators. If you procrastinate, do y
Alain Seraphin
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is really helpful. I learned what type of procrastinator I am and gave me ideas on how to overcome it. i learned that I should always be happy about the progress I make toward my goal.
Jason James
Feb 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
I picked up a book called Procrastination: Why You Do It and What to Do About It at the library, hoping to be either mildly amused or even helped. Neither of these things happened. After dropping to a non-honors English class I was a bit disheartened, having always considered English one of my strongest subjects. I was trying to improve myself academically, but it was no easy task. Then I found this book, and it became an even more difficult task. It was really really boring. I know there shoul ...more
Zhifei Ge
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
The book consists of two parts: what is procrastination, and how we can overcome it. Overall, the book is clearly organized and insightful, and suggestions from the book are quite reasonable and easy to follow. One main argument from the book is that procrastination has reasons and the reasons always infect other behaviors, too.

The authors start with equation of self-worth, ability and performance, which is really what I have in mind. Procrastination comes between ability and performance by deg
Richard Curry
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Finally got around to reading this volume! I had been putting it off for a long time. Now I know why!

Excerpt: From book "Procrastination, why you do it, what to do about it"
by Burka & Yuen (1983):
"... the most important developmental task of each child is to become an autonomous adult ... Even if your child initially began to procrastinate for other reasons, if you've been nagging him or her about it, he or she may continue to procrastinate to thwart you. This is often the case with adolesce
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is split into two parts: Why and How. The first is a comprehensive description of procrastination and why it is someone might become a procrastinator. Every personality type that get caught in these bad habits is explored, and sometimes I was astounded by the way they were able to describe me (without knowing me, of course). The second part is not nearly as good. Here the authors give a few ideas to try out in order to overcome procrastination, but there isn't enough motivation in the ...more
Angel Martinez
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was the first self help book I've read and I ended up enjoying it even thought it took me a while to read. The authors employ a sufficient amount of humor to make me chuckle. The book is well written and easy to understand. I enjoyed the first half more than the second half because the first half sought to explain why people procrastinate. The authors also used many anecdotes that helped me understand their points. I enjoyed the second half too but not as much. It mostly consists of ex ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Hmmmmmmmmm, well, I figure I can't really get any worse by reading this book. Typical simple language self-help book. No life changing revelations. States the obvious that procrastinators every where already know and are so good at ignoring. I suppose I hoped this book would crawl inside my brain and radically change my habits. No such luck. The dishes are still in the sink from last night's supper...however, I did clean the counter after making a sandwich. So...progress? Maybe.
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-misc
I highly recommend this to everyone that procrastinates or is a perfectionist. It's probably been one of the most influential books in my life. I've always been a procrastinator, but after college it got to a whole new level of procrastination. I'm not sure the book really cured me of it entirely, but it has helped me understand why I procrastinate, which is really 90% of the battle I think.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!!! This book is amazing!! It really goes in depth with the whys and hows of procrastination. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the subject after reading this book. The solutions that the authors provide for procrastination make sense and are easy to implement. I'm really glad I read this book!!

*I read the updated 25th Anniversary Edition
Alia Makki
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You don’t read this book. Rather you make a checklist out of the index and main headings until you figure out the slothful, bruised, anxious animal that hides inside of you. And then take it easy on that animal. Take it easy on your family, cultures, and situations. Sometimes what you call laziness is just your body telling you to lay off. Sometimes what they call perfectionism, is a symptom of a haunting demon.

(This book falls in the same category as the books that touch to heal, along with Vi
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, this was a life changing book. While I had already been using quite a few of the procrastination ending techniques before I even found this book (which had helped to remedy my procrastination an extreme amount), it was discovering why I procrastinated that made such a huge difference in my life and to my future. I now know that anytime I want to procrastinate on something I can stop and examine my reason behind it. Once I know which reason it is, I can remedy the situation and get on wit ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
This book is way too long to be read by procrastinators. The author has an annoying manner of quoting personal stories instead of getting straight to the point, as if the reader was an idiot who cannot understand anything unless he is given examples of other peoples' procrastination.

I was hoping for something much more sciency, and all I got was some spiritual mumbo jumbo :(
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hugely insightful book which spent just as much time on helping the reader identify the possible origins and drivers of one's procrastinating behaviour as providing tips on how to monitor one's procrastinating behaviour and tactics to manage oneself out of the destructive repeating patterns. Definitely a keeper on my bookshelf!
Bogdan Balostin
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Procrastination has many different causes most of them being psychological and not related to the task. Want to know them? Read this book. It's pretty revelatory.

Raymond Chan
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Definitely a good read about why you will procrastinate. The most important thing about the book is that, you need to know yourself. You need to notice you are procrastinating and why are you procrastinate. What are you feelings when you procrastinate. Only if you understand your feeling, you can tackle the issue.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the best book I read on procrastination and is packed with lots of helpful information. Only reason I give it 4 stars is there was unnecessary things in the book and I think the authors could’ve written it better.
Domantas Jackūnas
it's a good source for knowledge on the topic with some practical examples. the issue I have with it is that given the target audience - the book is dry as a bone. it's very easy to drift off given the monotony and similarity of all of the different forms of procrastination.
Kate C. Z
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The four-star is for the “why you do it” part. The authors’ observation and elaboration of the underlying mechanism of procrastination are very on point. The second half about the action plan for dealing with procrastination is a big disappointment.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book. It did an excellent job at identifying the problem and offering solutions.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
interesting and helpful
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is changing my life !
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty sensible, credible... hasn't helped me so far, but that's down to me. Has some common-sense suggestions. You just have to apply them. I guess. Now, what's on my Netflix list?
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“Some people would rather suffer the consequences of procrastination than the humiliation of trying and not doing as well as they had hoped.” 4 likes
“Perfectionists fear that if they make a wrong decision, they will think less of themselves and their feeling of regret will be intolerable. But underneath this apprehension is a belief that they can (and should) be omniscient—able to read the future and guarantee how things will turn out. It is a childhood fantasy that grown-ups know everything (how did your parents figure out that you were lying anyway?) and most of us harbor the wish that someday we, too, will know and control everything. It is indeed hard to accept the reality that we are neither omniscient nor omnipotent—and neither were our parents.” 1 likes
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