Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Things Done (copy)

I was perusing the new books this week when one caught my eye. The Procrastinator's Guide to Getting Things Done by Monica Ramirez Basco, Ph.D. sat gnawing at me. The guilt of past work undone and the lingering anxiety of a "to-do" stack sat sticking its tongue out at me. Could this book help?

Now, I am not one to read self-help books but this one obviously filled a needed niche. I took it to lunch and we both commiserated on my problem. Turns out, I have a reluctance to get started and put things off for fear of not doing them perfectly. Thought I fixed the "perfect" problem with another, self-help book in my 30s; unfortunately, the problem lingers under the surface and sabotages my actions covertly.

Basco is a wry writer and realizes her audience will also procrastinate and possibly put off reading her book. With this in mind, she wrote a little sidebar in chapter one titled, "Resisting the Urge to Procrastinate on This Book."

Among Basco's seven suggestions sits a gold mine of ideas for any reluctant reader not just procrastinators. Her first suggestion refers to the fact that if you see it you will read it. Place the book on your night stand or coffee table. In my case, lay it on top of the stack.

Carry the book with you whether it is out to lunch or a bathroom break. Standing in lines is the perfect time to whip it out and start reading. Instead of listening to the same old television commercials click the mute button and read. Whatever the circumstance, keeping the book in hand means it will be readily available when spare time occurs.

Here's a silly suggestion but Basco says one should plan to read one page at a time. Is there another way? Physically, is this possible? I am at a loss for her meaning. She doesn't expand but she might be alluding to the size of her book. Read in little chunks and an enormous book will eventually be whittled away.

Basco's list contains a couple of "do nots," too. First, do not set unrealistic goals such as read a book by the end of the week or read a book before you do anything else. Reading should be without pressure. Second, do not tell yourself you "have to" read any book. Tell yourself that you want to read no-matter-what, or in the words of Larry the Cable Guy, "Geterdone!"