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Personal Growth

Procrastination Is a Virtue

Perhaps being a procrastination addict isn’t such a bad thing. There may be surprising benefits to putting things off, says Columbia Business School professor Eric Abrahamson.

The pervasive sense that procrastination is bad, is what Columbia Business School professor Eric Abrahamson calls “a cultural value,” and an outgrowth of the worker efficiency movement spawned by Frederick Winslow Taylor. In 1911, Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management. “Taylor thinks of a worker as an idiot,” scoffs Abrahamson. “He thinks of a manger as smart and able to get the employee to save time.” Abrahamson also told me about a top flight computer programmer he knows, who spends most of her time playing solitaire. “You could say she’s procrastinating,” says Abrahamson. “On the other hand, you could say she’s recharging.”


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