In the New York area? Join us to celebrate the book’s release next Tuesday October 23 at the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Click to learn more and purchase tickets, which includes a signed copy and drink tickets.
In the New York area? Join us to celebrate the book’s release next Tuesday October 23 at the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Click to learn more and purchase tickets, which includes a signed copy and drink tickets.
Let’s re-frame the discussion surrounding procrastination. Yes, it’s a bad habit, but if you’ve gotten this far as a procrastinator, chances are you’re probably not going to change. Instead, let’s think about all the fringe benefits. After all, procrastinators tend to accomplish quite a lot while they’re putting off other things, and meanwhile, tasks they don’t accomplish sometimes disappear. John Perry, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford, delves into the hidden upsides of dawdling and dallying in his new book, The Art of Procrastination.
If procrastination is an art, like the painter who favors watercolors, we all have our medium of choice. Putting things off is tough at a deadline-driven place like Workman, but this is an industrious group, so we manage. Here’s how Workmanites procrastinate:
I make “to do” lists. I also spend a lot of time researching things that I don’t need to know about.
Favorite techniques include:
- organizing my desk
- cleaning out my personal email inbox
- commenting on my friends’ kids’ cute photos on Facebook
- cleaning out the refrigerator
- cooking pretty much anything
It’s really important to “check the news.” If I’m going to procrastinate, it has to be under the guise of work, so I’ll go to NYT, Daily Beast, Huff Po, Atlantic. Then I should really check in with my “authors” on FB. Just quickly. And then there’s always the AWESOME Workman blog. That’s my absolute favorite productive procrastination site.
Snacking! Making lists including things I’ve just done and crossing out the latter to make me feel better!
No question here. Watching “Say Yes to the Dress.” On TiVO, no commercials, 20 minutes tops.
I tend to procrastinate in ways that seem somewhat productive, so that I don’t feel horribly guilty about it afterwards. One of my vices is reading the news—I’ll read the same few stories as presented on multiple websites (everything from The New York Times or the BBC to io9). I also have a tendency to read whatever I’m organizing, so that filing or cleaning out the magazines under my bed can take ages!
Nothing beats touching each pile of paper in my office at least once, beginning with the hope that one pile can be dealt with, before the realization that the piles can always be productively moved from place to place. This can be repeated endlessly.
I am a master procrastinator! I usually watch TV, even if it’s a rerun I have already seen. With Netflix, you can watch old shows and procrastinate for hours!
I’m infamous for my to-do list, no matter how much I actually follow it. It doesn’t look like I keep my priorities straight…but it sure feels good when I get to check something off. But you want to know my poison, and it’s TV, because it doesn’t matter how many times I have seen the “WE WERE ON A BREAK” episode of Friends, or how many fat women Al of Married with Children has offended (after all he is a shoe salesman), they never stop being funny and making me laugh and what better distraction is there than laughter?
Thanks for your email asking about our procrastination techniques! I’m generally a pretty on-the-ball person, so I thought I’d go ahead and answer you straightaway. That may seem counterintuitive: I’m not generally one to procrastinate (as evidenced by my prompt response to your email), so what could I possibly have to say on the subject? Well I don’t know that this necessarily applies, but I thought I’d share regardless, in case you or your blog readers have some use for it. Often when I find myself without something to do—or at least without something pressing; there may be other things on my to-do list, but they’re typically not urgent, or I’d be doing them!—I like to check my email. I’m subscribed to a number of mailing lists, so I get countless email blasts throughout the day, each of them promising a few brief moments of entertainment, and a much-needed respite from work or whatever else I may be doing. Many of these emails are essentially ads, corporations touting their various products and services. But I don’t mind! I like to see what the ever-expanding online marketplace has to offer, preferably five to eight times a day. I’ve also put my name on a number of petitions supporting a particular political candidate, and his team sure has been sending out a lot of emails lately! I like to stay informed so I read each and every one of them top to bottom. Most of them end with “Would you consider making a donation?”, which I sometimes do (this is another favorite pastime), and sometimes I just click on the link to see how close they are to their fundraising goal. If I’m feeling really generous I click “Tweet this Link” so that my Twitter followers know whom I support, and can make a donation too, if they so desire. This reminds me that I also spend some of my non-essential time on Twitter. But mostly it’s just emails. Reading emails, deleting emails, and sending emails—especially sending emails. I have friends flung across the country—the world, even!—and email is a great way to keep in touch. One of my sisters lives in Tennessee and the other in Michigan, so I email them sometimes. Just the other day I got an email from a friend in France, so I answered him (promptly), and now we’re engaged in a very nice email dialogue. I check in on that conversation every hour or so, just to see if he’s responded. (It’s hard for me to keep track of the time difference—he could answer at any time of day, and I want to be there when he does!) And I email other people too, but I won’t go into that now. The point is that I read and write emails a lot. It’s a digital world we’re living in and I just think email is the way of the future!
That’s what you asked, right?
—Avery (who gets either a gold star or a scarlet P for this)
I suddenly get really, really conscientious about cleaning, organizing, and/or recycling anything in the vicinity of the work area.
It seems the only time I clean is when I have work to do. If I have a big project (a freelance project), I suddenly have time to dust, vacuum, organize my closets…
It feels good to admit it—everyone’s a procrastinator. Well, almost everyone (this was the very first response I got, naturally):
Procrastination doesn’t even enter into the equation. There’s so much to do that every day is just an exercise in triage.
And then there’s the next-level procrastinator, who puts off procrastination itself. A true master:
Can’t we discuss this next week?
Happy procrastinating! New Yorkers, don’t miss author John Perry at The Strand later this month.
As summer winds down, more and more people are heading out of the office and away from the city to get in some pre-Labor-Day vacation time. We’ve got a short list this week, which goes to show that people are out on the beach reading books rather than their emails. Good for them!
What are you reading this week?
After reading Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, I’m dying to have brunch at her restaurant, Prune.
I’m on vacation, so I’m reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63, as is much of Cape Cod. Looking down the beach, one saw that enormous tome in many people’s hands. That, or Fifty Shades.
I’m less than halfway through 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, but I’m already fairly addicted to its characters as they wade, awkwardly and enthusiastically, in alternating and parallel fashion, through issues of faith, reason, morality, and purpose. It sounds heavy, and Goldstein’s approach is dense on the intellect, but her short chapters—and irreverent academic humor—make for incredibly fun(ny) and digestible subway reading. I’m looking forward to what I expect will be a very lively book club discussion…
I’ve finally gotten around to reading The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter, after a friend recommended it to me years ago. It’s a series of interconnected love stories played out by average, middle-class Americans in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2007 the book was made into a movie starring Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear. Perhaps that will be next on my Netflix queue.
I’m partway through an advance reader’s edition of the new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child (A Wanted Man, coming next month). A sales department favorite—James has been overheard saying, “What would Reacher do?” Fast-paced, well written, and the coolest good guy in print!
I’m reading Swamplandia! but I just got started and I’m not loving it yet. I think once I get some solid reading time in that will change—for the better, I hope. I do tend to read books all the way through one way or the other.
As for me, I’m reading We Sinners, Hanna Pylväine’s debut novel about a Finnish-American family of 11 and their relationship with their community and church. It’s a poignant family drama with lots of intricately drawn characters.
—Avery, who wouldn’t mind taking this book to the beach
The Olympics may be playing on every TV (and computer screen) across the globe, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time to get in some Friday reading! Below, Workman’s Friday Reads list for this week. Happy reading! And tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
And in their own words:
I mainly read biographies of rock musicians. I just finished It’s So Easy: and other lies by Duff McKagan (Guns and Roses) and Iron Man by Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath). Currently I’m reading No Regrets by Ace Frehley (Kiss).
I’m in the middle of Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child. 63% done, to be exact. It’s incredibly detailed! I’ll know everything there is to know about Julia and Paul Child once I’m done.
I’m reading The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. It’s concisely written and complicated. Highly recommend it.
My current subway read is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, which is excellent—clear, efficient language and ruthless logic.
Just finished The Underwater Welder, a new graphic novel by Jeff Lemire. It was somber and haunting, two qualities I fall for every time. I’m currently reading Snow White and Russian Red by Dorota Masłowska. It’s an impressive debut novel. When it was released in 2002, Ms. Masłowska was heralded as the new face of the Polish literary world. A few pages in, it’s clear why.
I’m reading A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge which is fabulous and weird.
In the Kingdom of Men: A Novel by Kim Barnes. Gorgeously written story of a small-town Oklahoma woman’s move to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1960s when her husband gets a job with an oil company there—superbly etched characters and setting. Barnes is the author of two previous novels, and two memoirs, one of which, In the Wilderness (which I edited), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Next up: something I have been pretending to have read for years—David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (after that trailer, how could I not?).
After falling hard and fast for Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I’m continuing the love affair with her new book Tiny Beautiful Things. It’s a collection of the advice columns Cheryl has written for the past few years as the formerly-anonymous advice giver Dear Sugar on The Rumpus. The depth of her empathy and honesty is life-affirming. To say I’m a fan is an understatement.
Went to Paris recently, and brought along The Ambassadors by Henry James. Didn’t get much into it there (spent all free reading time perusing Paris restaurant blogs…), but upon returning, well, it’s un-put-downable. Am three-quarters of the way through and can’t wait to find out what happens. Imagine that: Henry James, page-turner.
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers (hero reviewer of Just Ride). Sad, smart, informative, short, moving, compelling. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter is next in line!
Recently read Gone Girl (along with everyone else!) and was pretty riveted. Am currently perusing The End of Men by Hanna Rosin (fascinating and depressing and empowering all at once) and about to start The Age of Miracles by Karen Walker Thompson, an novel told from the point of view of a young girl about what happens when the earth’s rotation slows.
I’m reading After Claude by Iris Owens. Over the top, bizarre, and very funny. It’s refreshing to read a female protagonist who is foul-mouthed, hostile, and totally crazy.
The Hare with Amber Eyes—on the face of it, a true story of a collection of Japanese netsuke passed from generation to generation, but really a wonderfully absorbing social history of a fabulously wealthy Russian Jewish family and the journey of one of their descendents to unravel their personal triumphs and tragedies since 1871. I can’t wait to finish it!
I should warn: This is a bit of a selfish blog post. Seeing as I will be starting college this fall, I have been gathering as much information as I can about classes, activities, social life, etc. Unfortunately, this means that I spend an unhealthy amount of time on College Confidential and Rate My Professor. This obsession is also why a book entitled College in a Nutskull caught my eye while I was perusing the book room a few days ago. If you’re not familiar with this book, it is essentially a compilation of hilarious factual errors and is quite simply, sublime.
As funny as this book is, I had expected a how-to book and was surprised when it turned out not to be. So I figured, why not seek how-to advice about college from Workman people? The following is a short list of great advice. You may not be in college anymore but hopefully you find this pertinent to some aspect of your life (for example, knowing how to do laundry is very important).
Some wise nuggets:
|Study what you love, not what you think you should study.|
|The first semester doesn’t determine your entire college experience.|
|Make friends who are 21.|
|Sit around and talk to people as much as possible.|
|Lock your computer.|
|Don’t drink the punch!|
|Don’t room with a friend.|
|Research your professors.|
|Pay attention to how you’re growing as a person.|
|Go to as many events as you can.|
|Don’t tie yourself down to any one group.|
|Find a study place, and stick to it.|
|Learn to cook.|
|Learn how to do laundry.|
|Buy used books. Sell them.|
|Wear shower shoes.|
|Try to expose yourself to everything you can without overwhelming yourself.|
|Above all else, enjoy it!|
I think anyone would agree—this is sound advice. Workman people must be pretty smart!
Also recommended to me for my college transition were The College Cookbook and The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything, which may conveniently go missing right around the time I leave Workman for school this fall…
-Zatio (Rising Frosh)
When an editor and her assistant are on the same wavelength–working together as one well-oiled, fine-tuned machine–it’s a beautiful thing. When they arrive at the office dressed almost identically, it’s just freaky! Or maybe it just means they shop at the same stores. Below, witness the coincidental (it WAS a coincidence, we swear!) matching outfits of editor Suzanne and her assistant Erin.
Proof that great minds pink…er, THINK alike!
P.S. Note coincidental placement of the pink feather boa in the background…
I’m Zatio. I’ve been interning at Workman for a few weeks, spending time in various departments, and helping out with different tasks. I’ve worked in special sales, gift sales, and now, editorial. This has been a wonderful experience that has given me a glimpse of what real, adult life is like. I just graduated from high school and am heading off to college (already!) in August.
I have lived in New York for my whole life. It would be fair to call me a true New Yorker. As a result of this, I know how to get around the city. I am accustomed to crowds, small spaces, smog, and traffic. And there is nowhere else I would rather live. This also means that I am often impatient, easily incensed, and quick to complain—especially about New York City. These characteristics are why I found this particular project so interesting. As you’ll see from the following survey, everyone has different feelings about this city. But, I think, even through our gripes and frustrations, we love this place for all its quirks.
In the spirit of a pair of Workman books: Don’t You Just Hate That? and 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, we’ve decided to make a special Workman collection of loves and hates related to New York City. The following is a list of some funny, some serious, and some curious pet peeves and best things about the Big Apple.
|Don’t You Just Hate…?||Things to Be Happy About|
|when the train doors close right in front of your face||being just a few paces away from a variety of cuisines|
|when you have to deal with tourists crowding Grand Central Station on your way to work||people that hold the door open|
|when people don’t have proper umbrella etiquette||Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park|
|when people get to the top of the subway stairs and stop to make a call||empty seats on the train|
|when you can’t afford a bigger apartment||outdoor summer cocktails|
|when the light is green but there are cars blocking your way||being able to walk down the street and see the Empire State or Chrysler Buildings|
|when people walk slowly and don’t bother to move aside to let others pass||water-cooler conversations|
|when you have to go through those revolving-door turnstiles in the subway||you will never need a car as long as you’re in New York|
|when you can’t wear flip-flops without your feet getting caked in dirt||beautiful little West Village side-streets|
|midsummer subway odors||friends who don’t live in the city are always coming through—and need a place to stay|
|when you have to walk past a gaggle of cat-calling construction workers||the nightlife|
|the constant noise||the energy|
|when it’s so humid outside that your dog would rather forgo using the bathroom than leave the house||there are so many different New Yorks. If you get tired of one, there’s another in the next neighborhood over.|
|when you unwittingly go into the only train-car that isn’t air conditioned||you can walk pretty much anywhere|
|when you have to witness every single unfortunate fashion trend. Really, muscle-tees?||the Met!|
|when there is always someone dressed better than you are||there is always someone dressed worse than you are|
|when people text while walking. Seriously, we need texter and non-texter pedestrian lanes, ASAP.||being able to experience world-class dining, theater, and nightlife at affordable prices, and sometimes for free|
|bed bugs||parents that read aloud to their children on the way to school|
|the fact that, if you’re ever bored, it’s your fault||if you’re ever bored, it’s your fault!|
—Zatio (a proud New Yorker)
Today is Star Wars Day—May the fourth be with you!
That’s why we’re extremely excited to offer you a tiny sneak peek at the next Star Wars project we have lined up, to be released this fall! No details yet, but here’s a behind-the-scenes shot to pique your curiosity.
Watch this space for more details about our latest project to come out of the Star Wars universe!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Last year we celebrated with some adorable babies reading/snuggling with their beloved copies of Sandra Boynton’s book Snuggle Puppy. Now it’s been a year, and those babies are babies no more! Well, yes, they definitely still are—but now they’re mobile! They love to crawl and climb and run and play! And when they’re done bouncing around, they still love to read.
Recently* the Workman office hosted a party for the many kids of Workman employees. The results, as you’ll see below, were incredibly cute. Enjoy these photos from the most recent Workman play date; they’re sure to melt your heart, chocolate or otherwise.
*Okay, you caught me: This event was actually a few months ago. (No, we don’t wear shorts and sandals in February around here…) But the pictures just seemed so right—so sweet and cute and fun—for Valentine’s Day that we couldn’t resist sharing them today.
I was so, so, so wrong.
Below are some behind the scenes snaps from our very first 365 Hats Picture-a-Day Calendar photo shoot. Was it a lot of work? Yes. Was it insanely glamorous and high fashion? Double yes. Did it make me wish we lived in an age where hats were an everyday kind of thing? Uh…YEAH. I’m hoping this calendar turns the fashion tide in my favor because today I saw a few chapeaus that are crying to be worn. By me. At work. Every day.
Each hat required different hair and make-up. It was amazing to see how something as simple as a change of lip color could transform an entire look. Below, Gabriella (left) gets a marcel wave while Susie gets prepped for another hat.
We spent a lot of time pairing the hats with the right model: Not everyone can rock a vintage sequined coolie. Jessica (below) managed it pretty much better than anyone. Actually, she looked so amazing in it, she kind of ruined it for those of us who thought they’d found their new “going out” look.
And here’s Natalia in a showstopper of a hat. Those are feathers. REAL feathers. (Superstar stylists Prissy, left, and Amy work their magic.)
I know 2012 is only 10 days old, but unless Prince Harry surprises me with tickets to the Oscars, this was by far the most glamorous day of my year.
And if I DO go to the Oscars with Prince Harry, be sure to look for me: I’ll be the one in the sequined coolie.