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Being late isn’t great, but it also doesn’t dictate your fate

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Published by Dey Street, ‘Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastinaton, from Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me’ by Andrew Santella is 195 pages and sells for $25.99.
Published by Dey Street, ‘Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastinaton, from Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me’ by Andrew Santella is 195 pages and sells for $25.99.

Just do it.

 

That’s a demand that comes from everywhere. Sneakers say it, your spouse says it, the law demands it, your diet may say it.

Your boss does, for sure.

Just do it. Buckle down and get it done because, as in the new book “Soon” by Andrew Santella, delaying and dawdling are not so delightful.

Charles Darwin was a terrible procrastinator.

It’s true that he got things done. He was an accomplished author, a father, a scientist who studied barnacles almost to the point of obsession, and his thoughts on what he called natural selection had been arranged cohesively and written.

Twenty years went by before it was published.

FOOT-DRAGGERS ARE EVERYWHERE

As he was preparing to write this book on procrastination – research which he’d put off until he couldn’t wait any longer – Santella began seeing a lot of foot-dragging hidden throughout history.

Procrastinators, as it turns out, are in good company: One in five of us chronically waits until the last minute to start tasks.

Such delay, Santella says, “is one of the oldest stories ever told.”

It’s also “notoriously difficult to define” and equally hard to eradicate.

LIFE GETS IN THE WAY

Not only do businesses demand on-time productivity, but self-improvement books and classes are filled with anti-procrastination advice.

Says Santella, none of that takes into account “the stuff that makes life such a precious mess.”

And it doesn’t do anything to eliminate what is believed by some to be the root of the problem, which is that people are ruled by emotions – especially fear.

THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW

To try to control time-frittering, remember that “behavior shapes mood.” Do that which you’re putting off and it “will make you feel better.”

Keep in mind that there is a good side to procrastination, and that’s optimism: tomorrow is always a good day, for a procrastinator.

Take a page from Benjamin Franklin, and make a list of things you need to do.

THE OLD COLLEGE TRY

Remember that it’s nearly universal to fit work into the time it’s allotted.

Minimize distractions, utilize productivity apps, muster all the self-restraint you have and remember that you’re not alone.

And if all else fails, pray to St. Expedite. He’s the patron saint of procrastinators.

FAILURE NOT ALWAYS THE RESULT

Time’s a-wastin’. You need a book to help you conquer your habit of lateness, but “Soon” isn’t it.

Even so, it’s a great way to kill time because Santella says he’s exactly in your same position.

As it turns out, so were a lot of famous people – most of them, quite accomplished in fields of history, literature and psychology.

That, as Santella shows, indicates that even though foot-dragging is stressful and detrimental to one’s career, it doesn’t always lead to failure or worse.

ENJOYABLE READ

The anecdotes Santella shares sometimes get a little too deep, but they provide insight as to why someone might dilly-dally and, if you’re willing to dig a little, what can be done about it.

That makes “Soon” a book for procrastinators and for those who aren’t, but are irritated by one.

Chances are, that’s you, and you’ll enjoy reading it.

Tomorrow.

Terri Schlichenmeyer of Wisconsin writes reviews of business books. Reading since she was 3, she owns 15,000 books and can be reached at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

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