Joe McCarthy told me about a great essay by Stanford philosophy professor John Perry. I finally got around to looking at it, mainly as a way of avoiding writing to participants in a conference session I’m moderating later this week.

Appropriately, the essay is about “structured procrastination.”

I have been intending to write this essay for months. Why am I finally doing it? Because I finally found some uncommitted time? Wrong. I have papers to grade, textbook orders to fill out, an NSF proposal to referee, dissertation drafts to read. I am working on this essay as a way of not doing all of those things. This is the essence of what I call structured procrastination, an amazing strategy I have discovered that converts procrastinators into effective human beings, respected and admired for all that they can accomplish and the good use they make of time. All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things…

You can also buy the t-shirt.

[To the tune of Sound Tribe Sector 9, “Breathe In,” from the album “2004-12-31 – Tabernacle”.]

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