John's Reviews > The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing

The Art of Procrastination by John R. Perry
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's review
Jun 15, 2012

it was amazing
Recommended for: procrastinators, lollygaggers, dawdlers
Read from July 09 to August 23, 2012

This reader must admit that the word "mañana," Spanish for "tomorrow," is a beautiful term. It even has a nice ring to it.

Yet I must agree with author John Perry. As he says in his book The Art of Procrastination , and subtitled A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing, there is a fine art to this. In fact, most good dawdlers at least aspire to be structured procrastinators, and Dr. Perry does a good job of explaining this in his book.

The title to this book may sound funny, and much of it is quite witty, but right in the introduction we learn of philosophical concept of "akrasia," which is the state of acting against one's better judgment. Why do people decide to do other than what they think is best for them to do? Both of the great ancient philosophers Plato and Aristotle pondered this, so it's nothing new.

The Art of Procrastination

Seize the day... tomorrow.

Perry begins his first chapter with a discussion on "Structured Procrastination" and the logic behind the concept. We all do it; we put off doing things that we have to. We may fiddle on the computer, poke around on Facebook, or read Amazon reviews posted by others (like you're doing right now) instead of getting that expense report completed or washing the dishes. We have deadlines, and then find all sorts of diversions to push them back. In fact, my review here is a personal example of lollygagging, but more on that later.

Most of us feel at least somewhat bad about being dawdlers, and in many cases are aware that it can be annoying to others as well. But if you put in a small amount of effort, you can be a structured procrastinator, and once you start feeling awkward or guilty about it, you can actually get a lot done, as the author illustrates in this small but effective book.

"To-Do Lists" is the title of the third chapter, and it offers some interesting food for thought when one starts to look at prioritization and breaking things down to small increments. Dr. Perry shows us his personal list used for the following day before he goes to bed, and one cannot help but smile at it along with his following comments. The he goes on to show his expanded list, which will still make you smile, but it makes a lot of sense, especially in his somewhat comical numbered morning computer tasks.

The chapter entitled "The Computer and the Procrastinator" is one that will ring true with many, and for this reader the ideas presented here were worth the cost of admission. For the many of us who probably do spend an amazing amount of time on the 'Net, the author's points include some excellent ideas well worth considering. And where procrastinators can often be annoying to others, there are solutions for this.

This book is a fast read, yet for this reader it was one where I found more Post-It notes than I might have originally imagined before I started it. When I pulled the bookmarks to the witty passages, that still left about two-thirds of them, because there's some real meat here.

I must admit that my review here is an example of efficient dawdling: I received this book as an advance copy months ago as a result of an inquiry that I made at the Book Expo America Show in New York in June 2012. The publisher shipped the advance copy of this book quickly, yet my own procrastinating has resulted in my posting this review now.

I have purchased another copy here for myself. I've pulled all of my personal bookmarks out of my original advance copy, and am going to make it a second-hand gift to a particular individual that can probably use the advice in the pages here. I would have gifted a new copy, but I'm still waiting for two previously loaned books and a small piece of camera gear to be returned. If that individual reads this and uses the book the way that I hope, then maybe this will be a mild prod, a gentle reminder to not lollygag about returning things. In any case, this one will be gifted to others as well, and not just because of the witty title.

Seize the day... tomorrow will be soon enough.

The Art of Procrastination

• 8/26/2012
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07/24/2012 page 80

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