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What Can Procrastination Teach You?

Seems that nearly everyone – even Nobel prize-winning economists who perhaps should know better – procrastinates. As James Surowiecki writes in The New Yorker, procrastination may well be a basic human impulse. It’s also an impulse that can cost people money (think of all those late tax filings) and jeopardize their health. Economists usually blame hyperbolic discounting, and time-management experts suggest breaking big tasks into smaller ones and relying on external rules. Surowiecki’s thoughtful summation: “[I]t might be useful to think about two kinds of procrastination: the kind that is genuinely akratic and the kind that’s telling you that what you’re supposed to be doing has, deep down, no real point. The procrastinator’s challenge, and perhaps the philosopher’s, too, is to figure out which is which.” [%comments]