Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Procrastinating 101: Dr. Ferrari's Impossible Dream

Wrapping up with Joseph Ferrari's Still Procrastinating?  The No-Regrets Guide to Getting it Done this morning--Dr. Ferrari's final chapter is entitled "Where Do You Go Next--and Can You Get There from Here?"

He begins in true academic fashion by listing areas requiring further research, including:
  • neurophysiological changes in the biological processes of chronic procrastinators
  • the meaning of time and procrastination in various countries and among different nationalities
  • the impact of procrastination in culturally divergent settings
  • how well cognitive-behavioral interventions work in comparison with other programs to address the needs of chronic procrastinators
 Following this, Dr. Ferrari moves on to his plea that we shift, in U.S. culture, from tolerating procrastination, or being amused by it, to focusing on preventing it.  
As a culture, as a society, we need to focus on getting things done.  We need to have new systems to promote people's meeting deadlines.  Incentives need to be created for folks to act.

As examples, he proposes a "plan to transform holiday shopping," which would provide financial rewards to early shoppers, instead of the current system, in which procrastination "pays off."  In the same vein, he suggests financial incentives for people who file their tax returns early.

Dr. Ferrari concludes the chapter, and his book, with this bit of cheerleading:
The problem of procrastination in our society will change only when we gather enough reliable and valid empirical facts through science, and when men and women take the topic seriously.  Societal support for procrastination must stop.  Lives are on the line.  You and I can start; together we can change our behavior from procrastination to prevention and productivity.  I look forward to the day when I can write a book that surveys the end of procrastination as we knew it.
Somehow, I don't imagine such a volume coming out in my lifetime.

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