Procrastination special!

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This morning at Slate, the editors tackle a topic that’s near to everyone’s hearts with a special report on procrastination. (Of course I read the whole thing before I started composing this post.)

My favorite piece: Emily Yoffe’s tale about trying to use online support groups and self-help books to stop procrastinating. Yoffe sounds like a woman after my own heart; “For me,” she writes, “Small tasks getting the dry cleaning, checking the downspouts have a way of inflating like helium, floating the day away.” Here’s her attempt to understand the psychology of procrastination:

Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University… divides us into two general behavior types: arousal procrastinators and avoidance procrastinators. Arousal procrastinators seek the excitement and pumping stress hormones of having to finish everything under duress. (I’m this type.) Avoidance procrastinators make their work the measure of their self-worth and so end up putting it off out of fear. (I’m this type, too.) I talked to Ferrari and discovered that after 20 years of studying us, his sympathy is wearing thin. “I don’t understand this, why they’re consistently like this. I don’t like cutting the grass, but I do it.”

In the end, the best advice comes from her 12-year-old daughter stop taking so many breaks, and stop making excuses for yourself. Easier said than done, of course, but never mind…

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