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Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do about It

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,392 ratings  ·  148 reviews
If procrastination bothers you, don't let another minute go by without Procrastination. Based on their workshops and counseling, psychologists Jane B. Burka and Lenora M. Yuen offer a probing, sensitive, and sometimes humorous look at a problem that affects everyone: students and scientists, secretaries and executives, homemakers and salespeople.

The book starts with the re

Paperback, Second Edition, 336 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published December 31st 1982)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,392 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Levent Bayindir
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Alain Seraphin
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Zhifei Ge
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 adolescent c
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
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alia Makki
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.

Tuğçe Gürkan
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me this started of very informational and it was a ‘take notes’ type of book then around the middle it became a bit repetitive then it was just plain boring after that. It was very informational at the beginning about the psychology of procrastination and I loved that but I did not need all that friendly-ish advice after that which felt a bit pinterestlike. Of course, each to their own. All and all I still would recommend it.
Barack Liu
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

234-Procrastination-Jane Burka-Psychology-1983

- often between perfectionism and procrastination certain contact, the more you expect of yourself, the more likely you for fear of inadequate preparation and has been reluctant to start to do it.

"Procrastination" (Procrastination), first published in the United States in 1983. It believes that sluggishness is neither a vice nor a character problem, but a psychological syndrome caused by fear.

Jane Burka was born in the U
Jason James
Feb 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An mind-blowing book. Definitely a must read for every person grappling with the issue.
John Turlockton
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Preety poor. If you're reading it in order to reduce your own procrastination, the first half of the book is completely useless to you. If you're reading it to get a better understanding of procrastination, it's basically no good either, as I'll explain now. The first half is skant, based largely on common-sense-isms, is not rigorous, and deals primarily with personal anecdotes rather than an analysis of the research. It uses a lot of phrases like 'tend to' or 'usually', i.e. generalisations rat ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: When Perfect Isn't Good Enough
"Just do it!" is sound advice often given to procrastinators. Unfortunately, oftentimes, it is not internalized since the behaviour is complex and one must first understand why they delay or put off projects before anything can be done about it.

Those who are looking for the Holy Grail will not find an answer as the subject is vast and there are many reasons, disorders and contexts to why someone might be averse to completing a project. The case studies in simplified self-help language, however,
Angel Martinez
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
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!
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lisa Fang
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It, by Jane B. Burka, the most interesting thing I learned from this book is the five mentality why we will procrastinate. “Scaring to fail, scaring to success, against the power, scared to depart or to close the circle of people relationship” these five mentality is the most common reasons that we don’t want to do the things that we should work on. The first kind people, scaring to fail is a mentality that people who ask themselves to let thei ...more
Lesya Kostiv
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely amazing. Understanding of procrastination, all the possible reasons which could lead you to such habits are way more important then just some list of techniques how to deal with it. There are techniques as well , but the more valuable is to know - are you procrastinating now? Why? What you’re avoiding? How you done it before? What are you afraid of ? Hearing yourself and becoming conscious and mindfulness will teach you first notice if you’re procrastinating (most people ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, work
This had a lot of interesting information about procrastinating; why we do it, what you can do to stop, what to do if your child,spouse,employee or boss is a procrastinator. I do procrastinate, but not on everything and not consistently. I find myself putting off phone calls (I hate the phone) of all sorts - making appointments, talking to a friend who insists we be on the phone for an hour, calling my insurance company, or the cable company, or...just any phone call really. Usually it is not as ...more
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12 likes · 7 comments
“Some people would rather suffer the consequences of procrastination than the humiliation of trying and not doing as well as they had hoped.” 5 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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