Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but not everyone is a Procrastinator, and if you called procrastination a mental illness, I'd cop to it. And at 38 years of age I'm tiiiired of being like this. So I just read two library books on the subject.
Ferrari's wasn't very good. He cites a TON of studies on the subject, but the whole book just ends up being one long reason to procrastinate.
And when you finally get to his what-to-do tips they're typical tips like you find in any "how to get organized" book. Once in awhile he'd drop a more intriguing bit of information, or cite a more interesting study, but he wouldn't delve into it deeply and suggest a meaningful action you could take.
And finally, the tone of the entire book was a bit shaming and condescending. I know he didn't intend it, because he specifically says so in one of the ending chapters, but I could really see the difference when I returned to finish the other book I'd started. Maybe it's meant for people who are still in denial so it's "tough love", cause it felt like he was citing study after study after study as though arguing with someone who won't admit that their procrastination is actually a problem. But anyone who's buying a book called Still Procrastinating? probably isn't in denial. So I was just skipping page after page... I took all of 3 lines of notes.
The other book was It's About Time by Sapadin. I took 3 pages of notes. Her book is organized like this:
- a quiz to help you see what kind of procrastinator you are
- a chapter on each procrastination style
-- each of those chapters describes the style
-- then gives you tips on how to
--- THINK differently (including a visualization exercise)
--- SPEAK differently
--- and ACT differently, in order to change
- and a last chapter on the process of creating change.
I wrote down every tip that seemed relevant to me, and now I have a bunch of things to work on. Simple and helpful. I don't think she quoted one study. And look, I'm an academic, so for most topics I want to know the studies. But this is about procrastination! Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. Also, her tone was WAY more positive.
Ferrari's book was like a big soup full of information, not meaningfully organized. For example, he brought up the point (backed up by a study) that procrastinator's often don't give themselves rewards when they succeed at something. And I was all "Ooh that's true of me!" I read on, interested to know what this meant, or what I should do with this information. But he didn't say anything else about it.
I mentioned before that my two procrastination styles are "perfectionist" and "overdoer". Now that I've got all my Sapadin tips, I'm trying to work on it a little at a time. You can imagine how exhausting it is when you overcommit to things and then try to do them perfectly. I think it was Sapadin who said sometimes people like me procrastinate as a self-sabotaging way to take a break!
And for the other things, I have to (a) pick up less projects, (b) aim to do them well, but not perfectly, and (c) learn to work first, play later, and not fear that by doing this the "play later" part will be indefinitely put off.
...Wish me luck!