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John Perry Wins Ig Nobel Prize for Literature for Theory of Structured Procrastination

Stanford University professor John Perry has won the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize for Literature for his work developing a “Theory of Structured Procrastination.”

The annual awards ceremony recognizes strange and improbable research from all corners of the world, a Bizarro World version of the Nobel Prizes. Perry (pictured via, jump-roping with seaweed) originally wrote about structured procrastination for The Chronicle of Higher Education, in an essay called “How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done.”

Here’s an excerpt from the award-winning work: “the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important. Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen.” (Via io9)

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