This is a great book with something for everyone.
I'm the founder of Successful Academic Coaching and when I work with graduate students struggling with their dissertations and faculty members trying to publish, I recommend this book frequently. Many of my clients have found this book useful; some swear by it.
The book contains two sections: understanding why we procrastinate, and outlining how to overcome it. It's a quick but useful read; the writing is clear, and the descriptions precise. You will definitely find yourself reflected in the array of problems, excuses, insecurities, stumbling blocks, and workable solutions. Whether you're a graduate student putting off your lit review, or a junior professor agonizing over a grant proposal, you'll discover WHY you procrastinate, and WHAT STEPS you can take to start moving forward.
Fear is the basis of all procrastination, say Burka and Yuen, including fear of failure, of success, and of "losing the battle" - some of us procrastinate to show that we're in control of the situation. "You can't MAKE me do this!" we say, silently, as we refuse to comply with a demanding advisor, a nagging spouse, or even (OK, some folks are REALLY stubborn) an empty gas tank!
The authors include a chapter on delving into your past - family attitudes, school patterns, etc. -- to learn why you've come to use procrastination as your chief coping mechanism. I'm a clinical psychologist, so I believe in understanding the past to understand current patterns -- as long as the insights are followed with action. Fortunately, Burka and Yuen promote action in the second half of their book.
The cures they suggest are realistic. You didn't start procrastinating overnight, and you're not going to quit like that either. Burka and Yuen explain how to develop better work habits methodically, one step at a time.
The authors recommend starting a 2-week program using many techniques. Among their recommendations:
- Make goals that are observable.
- Be specific.
- Take small steps.
- Reward yourself!
- Avoid Perfectionism
How do you stop procrastinating? You start one day at a time. Get this book to help you begin.
(This review was co-written with my colleague, Liz Brown, who helps edit the dissertations and book proposals of some of my grad student and faculty clients.)