03 July 2012

Dumb waiters

When I went to my secondary school and began to learn Latin, one of the earliest lessons involved the derivation of the English word "procrastination". I was the only member of the class who knew the word  (which comes from "cras", meaning tomorrow, in case you are as ignorant - or innocent - as my classmates). I was, needless to say, prone to it.

I am still inclined to leave decisions to the last moment: I never choose from a menu until someone is hovering with a pad of paper and pencil poised over it (is this why they are called "waiters", I wonder?), though being vegetarian has the advantage that one's choice is usually pretty limited, and sometimes even made for one. I am however delighted to find that there is some sort of endorsement for this approach to decision taking, revealed in a book review by one of my favourite writers. The book in question is Wait: The Useful Art of Procrastination, by Frank Partnoy, Profile, RRP£12.99, 304 pages and the reviewer (in the FT of course) is Lucy Kellaway.

Evidently it is all about managing delay, so I do not have carte blanche to leave things until tomorrow, but at least I know what skill I should be trying to develop. I won't do it dumbly, which gives me the chance to embed James's and Andy's piece ...

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