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The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done Paperback – 14 Dec 2011
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"The book is great" - The Guardian
"The Procrastination Equation is crammed with surprising insights about procrastination and human nature as well asconcrete, helpful solutions for fighting procrastination." -
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
"The Procrastination Equation will teach you how to bust the excuses that are preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life. So dont put it off any longer. Read this book. Today." - Daniel Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
"Procrastination is the saffron spice of human behavior, where even small amounts of this tendency can shatter the best of intentions. In this illuminating book Piers Steel shows us the secrets of procrastination, how it affects us and how we will, one day, be able to prevail." - Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality and Predictably Irrational
"In his absorbing first book Steel looks closely at the oft-misunderstood habit of procrastination. His engaging guide will appeal to a wide audience of past, present, and future procrastinators and researchers trying to get a handle on the science of putting things off." - Publishers Weekly
From the Back Cover
Are you always late or behind with something?
Is your desk covered with stuff you just havent got round to dealing with?
Are there dozens of untackled jobs around your home?
Then youre not alone. Across the world, millions of us are engaged in a never-ending battle to get stuff done. Its a battle that frustrates us, makes us unhappy, costs us financially and takes its toll on our health. Whats more, its likely to limit our career potential.
So why do intelligent, able people put things off, even when we know well be worse off for doing so? And, more importantly, how do we change?
In this groundbreaking book, the worlds leading expert on procrastination, Dr Piers Steel, reveals the truth about why we dont do what we dont do and shows us what we can do about it.
Using a powerful mix of psychology, science, self-help, and a decade of his own research, Dr Steel shows us what effect procrastination has on our lives, and offers real hope to sufferers everywhere.
New to this revised edition, Dr Steel shows exactly how to apply the techniques in common problem areas, resulting in a step-by-step procrastination busting guide for work, money matters and losing weight.
Procrastination is the saffron spice of human behaviour, where even small amounts of this tendency can shatter the best of intentions. In this illuminating book Piers Steel shows us the secrets of procrastination, how it affects us and how we will, one day, be able to prevail. Dan Ariely, author of New York Times bestseller Predictably IrrationalSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
I agree absolutely with other reviewers that the first six chapters clearly and comprehensively establish why procrastination occurs, and what the [largely negative, and occasionally catastrophic] effects can be. The next 3 chapters focus on each of the four factors (two in Chapter 9!) that between them determine a person's propensity to procrastinate, and then Chapter 10 summarizes how it can play out in practice. Chapter 11 is a summary of the concepts so far and finally in 'Making It All Work', the biggest of the chapters in the book (~50% longer than the next longest) there is a bullet point summary of all the practical tips mentioned in the earlier sections in the book, set out in logical categories.
As others have said, a lot of the tips are mentioned in other self-help books.
Is there any added value in this volume? I would say, emphatically 'Yes!'.
Why? For the following reasons:
1) This book is based on serious research.
Indeed, as Steel (the author) says himself, it is a synthesis of decades of work by different researchers in different disciplines, that has taken him years to compile and collate.
In summary (for the bioscientists), it clearly sets out the evolutionary struggle between the limbic system and the pre-frontal cortex in decision-making. Don't take my word for it - as any good scientist should, Steel has appended a comprehensive list of references for each chapter. When I say comprehensive, I mean it; this section takes over one sixth of the book (index not included). For the record, altogether there are 370 numbered end-notes, many of them containing multiple citations.
2) This books covers a variety of disciplines' approaches
There is no one simple solution offered; that is simply because different factors are of varying importance in various circumstances. Evidence is adduced from, among others: anatomy, evolutionary biology, behavioural psychology, sociology, economics and business studies. Understanding the root causes and interaction of mechanisms allows one to tailor the solutions to one's particular situation at a given time.
3) Some genuinely unique solutions are offered
The corollary of point 2) above is that no one solution will invariably work for all people at all times. I have read quite a lot of material about management, motivation and how to get the best out of people (whether oneself or others) and I consider myself reasonably conversant with the basic principles. Nevertheless I found some really useful details in here. For example, I wasn't aware of computer activity tracking software [such as ManicTime (c)*] to gain insight into one's computing behaviour. I have installed it and am using it even now! Again, as others have said, much of the contents will already be familiar to any given reader, but I would be surprised if no-one (other than the author!) didn't find at least one or two gems worth employing.
4) It contains stuff highly relevant to managers and educators
This book really is all about motivation, changing behaviour and improving effectiveness. It ostensibly presents as a self-help book, but the principles apply to others just as much. I will be implementing concepts, strategies and tactics from it both in my work and in my teaching.
5) Try before you buy
You can read a very generous sample of the contents using Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature (but please note my caveats below!).
a) It took me a while (actually most of the book!) to get used to the style of the writer. Mainly, his unshakeable self-belief (which I found difficult not to perceive as annoying arrogance). For example, in the author's note at the start, his description of meta-analysis (the statistical technique of systematically synthesizing data in a formalized way from a variety scientific studies) suggests almost that he devised and introduced the methodology himself, virtually single-handed. In fact Pearson (the grandfather of statistics) introduced it in 1904 and it had become a fully accepted tool in medical research thirty years ago. I suspect my reservations re the author's self-congratulatory style may well be a cultural matter, and say as much about me as him: in N America if one doesn't project a positive attitude, one is seen as a loser; on the other hand in Britain if one expresses robust self-confidence, one is often perceived as arrogant. However, it was well worth while putting my prejudices to one side to get to the meat of this book.
b) As someone familiar with bio-scientific methods, I found it a bit frustrating to have to work through all the explanations of technical content for the lay reader. Again, I don't decry the book for this, merely point out that it is definitely worth the scientist making the effort to work through it to understand the principles and practices described.
This book has already had a positive influence on how I go about things. It is now an established reference work on my 'teaching resources' shelf. I continue to dip into it to remind myself of some of the detail, and also to follow up on some of the primary research cited.
* Disclaimer: I have no connection with this company
May be it's my scientific/engineering background but simply understanding the how and why from the first half helped me hugely. The strategies are straight forward and Dr Steel even gives strategies for easing your self into beating procrastination as it's hard to do when you put off the strategies to beat it!
Most of us in the developed world procrastinate to a greater or lesser degree. This book has helped me immensely already and I'm still a few pages from the end. I strongly recommend you buy this book. Well worth the price and more, in my opinion.
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