The Art of Procrastination

The Art of Procrastination

Structured Procrastination: A person who gets a lot done by not doing other things. 

John Perry. The Art of Procrastination


Book: The Art of Procrastination
Author: John Perry
Read: July 2019


Grasping the concept of structured procrastination is only the first step in a program that can help procrastinators. Once we realize that we are structured procrastinators, not only do we feel better about ourselves but we also improve somewhat in our ability to get things done, because, once the miasma of guilt and despair clears, we have a better understanding of what keeps us from doing those things. 

The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. 

Structured Procrastination means shaping the structure of tasks one has to do in a way that exploits fact. 

Create a list of things you need to do, ordered by importance. You might even call this your priority list. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. 

Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. 

The trick is to pick the right sorts of projects for the top of the list. The ideal sorts of things have two characteristics. First, they seem to have clear deadlines (but really don’t). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren’t). 

One needs to be able to recognize and commit oneself to tasks with inflated importance and unreal deadlines, while making oneself feel that these tasks are important and urgent. 

Virtually all procrastinators have excellent self-deception skills. 

Perfectionism leads to procrastination. 

Perfectionism is a matter of fantasy, not reality. 

Perfectionism – It’s not a matter of really ever ding anything that is perfect or that even comes close. It is a matter of using tasks you accept to feed your fantasy of doing things perfectly, or at any rate, extremely well. 


Procrastination, when constructive, can provide us with the ability to get more done than we think. It is not about not getting things done, it is about systematizing and prioritizing the things for which we need to accomplish in a way to help as improve our productivity.

The Stoic Within

The art of living a virtuous life.

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