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The Daily Tar Heel

Q&A with author of productivity book

Communications post-grad Julia O'Grady will be doing a talk and signing of her book, Good Busy, at Bulls Head on Thursday.
Communications post-grad Julia O'Grady will be doing a talk and signing of her book, Good Busy, at Bulls Head on Thursday.

Julia Scatliff O’Grady, a postdoctoral candidate in communication studies at UNC, recently published a book called “Good Busy: Productivity, Procrastination, and the Endless Pursuit of Balance.”

Staff writer Tat’yana Berdan spoke with O’Grady about the book, O’Grady’s own struggles with time management and tips for current students.

Daily Tar Heel: What is “Good Busy” and what inspired you to write it?

Julia Scatliff O’Grady: About 10 years ago, I started to go to time management seminars because I wanted to be more efficient with how I spent my time. After the experience, I was let down and thought there was a better way to use my time.

“Good Busy” is the story of 10 people’s understanding of their own busyness.

It’s about procrastination and punctuality and about how hard it is to be punctual.

I am with students every day and I see how stressful it can be to be a student — to not only spend time in class, but the pressure of working two to three jobs on top of that.

DTH: What challenges did you face while writing and publishing this book?

JSO: First of all, where do you put a book like this? Is it self-help? Is it philosophy? Is it a documentary? I do a little bit of all of that. Figuring out what this book is was a challenge.

People have a lot of different ideas about what time management is, and people have a lot of shame and guilt about how they spend their time. I wanted to create a book that would present a unique way to look at time management.

Time management, procrastination and balance all tend to be things women gather around. I wanted the book to be half men, half women. Half rich, half poor. Half people of color, half white. I really wanted to get people that represented our nation.

DTH: You say you have implemented some of these strategies in your own life. How has the way you manage time changed since you wrote the book?

JSO: After I attended these time management seminars, I decided to lead my own.

My struggle is that when you talk about time management, you have to be an expert, perfect, flawless. I continue to struggle with procrastination and punctuality.

All of the practices have helped me. I’m trying to debunk the idea that someone is an expert in time management.

Time management is sort of a sterile concept. What we’re really talking about is how we set out to live our lives.

DTH: With exams and term papers around the corner, do you have any tips on time management for UNC students?

JSO: First, don’t worry too much about procrastinating because when you worry about procrastinating, you’re procrastinating.

Spend a small amount of time each day working toward a goal … If we just spend 20-30 minutes in the beginning mapping it out, peace can be achieved.

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