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Procrastination 101 from The Odyssey

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Homer’s Odyssey tells us that Penelope used procrastination to meet an important goal.

While waiting for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan War, Penelope was beset by suitors. She told them that she would choose one as her new husband as soon as she finished weaving a shroud.

Penelope would weave the shroud during the day, then unravel it secretly at night, so she would never have to make good on her promise. She delayed until Odysseus finally returned and killed the suitors.

Strategic procrastination has value in many business situations, too:

A slow pace in uncertain situations can help you digest new information and gain a sense of clarity.

When negotiating, a little strategic stalling can often spur your opponent to offer some concessions you might not have gotten otherwise.

—Adapted from The Procrastination Workbook, William Knaus, New Harbinger.

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