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Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It Paperback – August 3, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738209562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738209562
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jane B. Burka Ph.D is a psychologist with a private practice in Berkeley, California. Along with Lenora M. Yuen, she has conducted workshops and seminars at the University of California at Berkeley and for corporate and public groups nationwide. Lenora M. Yuen, Ph.D. , is a practicing psychologist in California. Along with Jane B. Burka, she has conducted workshops and seminars at the University of California at Berkeley and for corporate and public groups nationwide.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Read this book first, then the time management books.
Super Reader
It's a quick but useful read; the writing is clear, and the descriptions precise.
Mary McKinney
I guess it is best in that sense and feel everyone should read it.
P. Jain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

185 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Mary McKinney on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
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.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Mark_a_reader on October 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this in conjunction with "The Now Habit". This is quite a different book, much more verbose (but in a good way) and tends to get a bit deeped, in my view, into the psychology of procrastination. Which is useful.

If I absolutely had to choose, I would choose "The Now Habit". But I would strongly suggest that you read this book also. It does cover things that the Now Habit does not cover very well.

Our society tends to take a very simple view of procrastination, which can have fairly complex causes. This book helped me understand many of the roots of my behavior and, painfully, I recognized many of my behavior patterns. That alone is "worth the price of admission". This book will help you deal with your procrastination.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Super Reader on October 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have read many, many time management and organization books. This book was the one that really made a difference. Until you know why you procrastinate and can't get things done, numbering your priorities will not help. Read this book first, then the time management books. The authors point out that not everyone drags their feet in the same areas, nor to the same extent. The book would probably be helpful to ANYONE, because everyone has things they'd like to get done, but can't seem to. The authors have you put together an "unschedule", a chart of your time that is already taken, as a way to see how much time you really have left for your goals. Just doing that was an eye opener. The book has many helpful suggestions and questions that I have not seen in other books. I wish I had known about it when it was first published in 1983 - I would have gotten more done!!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Procrastination" by Burka and Yuen is clearly the beginning of an answer to what's holding us back from doing things. It is a kind of behavior that masks many problems. It gives a name to the behavior, gives a plausible set of reasons why we do it, and gives us something to do about it.

In a word, fear is the general cause of procrastination, but the authors do a fine job of unpacking that suitcase. With numerous examples to choose from, it is easy for us procrastinators to find some others who do it our way. And just as interesting, some people do it other ways that we haven't recognized before.

Recognizing we are not alone is really a good first step to moving on.

In the second half of the book, the authors begin to show us how to overcome the inertia of procrastination's gravity. I found the "taking stock" inventory of areas of procrastination very helpful. Following the inventory, they suggest a plan of action and ways to make progress.

Procrastination is a more wide-spread problem than most of us want to admit. Perhaps that's because it hits too close to home. What these authors have done is to bring the problem out in the open and deal with it head-on.

Highly recommended. (Don't put off buying it, now.)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Digital Dori on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I procrastinate only in certain areas, and I found from reading this book that this is normal. (Whew.) I found myself thinking I was terribly busy but didn't seem to get things done. I read this book and as other reviewers have stated, I felt that many section were directly addressing MY issues. I have since begun to implement some of the strategies and "tools" for dealing with procrastination. WOW! It is wonderful. Things that I have put off for months (like calling a plumber to fix the leaky toilet) are done. And it was so simple. I wonder why I ever put it off. I intend to read this book again in a month or so, as I am sure I will pick up more tips the second time around.
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