Man takes six years to write a letter to the editor about procrastination

Michael Dowd of Portland, Oregon, wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday about an article it ran about procrastination. The story was originally published on September 30, 2008. Dowd apparently put off “write letter to newspaper about procrastination” for an incredible six years. It’s amazing he had enough gumption to read the article.

The piece, titled “How to Put Off Work—Constructively,” discussed “structured procrastination,” in which someone completes a small, easy task to build a sense of accomplishment, that provides energy to complete the larger, more difficult tasks.

Inspired, Dowd—who suffers from procrastination himself—responded positively to the piece six years later. (It’s also possible that he found the article online recently, and didn’t actually wait to find the energy to respond.) His letter, which is a concise 53 words—meaning he wrote at a rate of roughly nine words per year—reads:

As a recovering procrastinator myself, I found Cari Tuna’s “How to Put off Work—Constructively” (Career Journal, Sept. 30, 2008) fascinating, especially in regard to Stanford University philosophy professor John Perry’s views on “structured procrastination.” Her advice on managing procrastination positively is insightful, and I intend on trying it if the need arises.

Sure, “recovering procrastinator.” We imagine he intends on trying the techniques eventually, whenever he finally gets around to it, maybe after taking a shower and then playing “GTA” for a few years.

h/t Procrastinaut