Slate's special issue on procrastination.

A brief history of wasting time.
May 16 2008 4:46 PM

Just Don't Do It

A special issue on procrastination.

Illustration by Alex Eben Meyer. Click image to expand.

Maybe you didn't care for our package on weddings last summer. Perhaps you weren't interested in the fall book blitz. You might even have skipped over our blowout neuroscience spectacular. Hey man, that's cool. Different strokes for different folks, am I right?

Not anymore. For the next three days, Slate will put aside the special interests and present, for the first time, a package of stories that will appeal to every single person reading the magazine. It's time for us to speak out on something that matters to all of you, regardless of class or creed; it's time to unite behind a common problem and a common dream.

Advertisement

Welcome, my friends, to Slate's special issue on "procrastination."

Emily Yoffe kicks things off with a moving memoir of her procrastination addiction and her journey through rehab. Seth Stevenson gives his own survivor's perspective, in the form of a letter to a young procrastinator.  Daniel Gross points out that it might be wise to invest in the procrastination economy—coffee, cigarettes, YouTube, etc. And Jessica Winter explores the rich literature of wasted time and the psychology of writers who put off their work for years and years.

Elsewhere in the issue, Josh Levin presents his grand unified theory of computer solitaire. Heather Smith reviews the literature on cross-cultural procrastination and reveals why the Japanese waste more time than we do. Ben Zimmer goes over the long and strange history of the word procrastination, and Ray Fisman provides an economist's perspective on putting things off. Finally, we'll present "ProcrastiNation"—a roundup of the time-wasting rituals of everyone from cattle ranchers to CIA agents.

Now stop slacking off and start reading!

Tuesday

"Lollygagging Through Life: I'm joining Procrastinators Anonymous—can I get past step one?" by Emily Yoffe. Posted May 13, 2008.

"Procrastination Lit: Great novels about wasting time," by Jessica Winter. Posted May 13, 2008.

"Lazy Money: The procrastinator's portfolio: An investment guide," by Daniel Gross. Posted May 13, 2008.

"Letter to a Young Procrastinator: Some last-minute advice from a veteran slacker," by Seth Stevenson. Posted May 13, 2008.

"Procrastinators Without Borders: Do the Japanese waste more time than we do?" by Heather Smith. Posted May 13, 2008.

Wednesday

"Solitaire-y Confinement: Why we can't stop playing a computerized card game," by Josh Levin. Posted May 14, 2008.

"Pro·cras·ti·na·tion: How we got a word for "putting things off," by Ben Zimmer. Posted May 14, 2008.

" 'It's All in My Head': Did Truman Capote and Ralph Ellison have writer's block—or were they just chronic procrastinators?" by Jessica Winter. Posted May 14, 2008.

Thursday

"The Unfinished Stories: All the stuff we never got around to including in the special issue," by Daniel Engber. Posted May 15, 1008.

"Like There's No Tomorrow: How economists think about procrastination," by Ray Fisman. Posted May 15, 2008.

"Procrasti-Nation: Workers of the world, slack off!" Posted May 15, 2008.

Friday

"Taking Your Time: Josh Levin and Seth Stevenson finally get around to answering readers' questions on procrastination." Posted May 16, 2008.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.