book review – solving the procrastination puzzle

Timothy Pychyl is a professor of psychology who writes about procrastination. Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change is a short book, making it easy to get through quickly.

Dr. Pychyl asks the reader to identify excuses used to justify procrastination, then to take action to meet stated goals. You may know that it’s important to break large projects into manageable tasks; in addition, Psychyl encourages readers to pre-decide – figure out how you’re going to handle situations before they arise. Forget about willpower. You have a limited amount and it’s too easy to put things off when you’re tempted by some other activity.

Each chapter in the book begins with a short phrase. Here are some of my favorites:

Procrastination is failing to get on with life itself

Feeling good now comes at a cost

I won’t feel more like doing it tomorrow

Like my oft-repeated advice “Just do something,” Pychyl says “Just get started.” You don’t have to finish, you don’t have to do it perfectly and you don’t have to feel motivated. Sometimes, just taking the first step is enough to get momentum going.

Finally, he discusses personality types and propensity for procrastination. Regardless of your tendencies, however, there are actions you can take to reduce procrastination, if not eliminate it altogether.

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