We have all heard at one point or another that procrastination is a bad habit. It interrupts productivity and disrupts momentum, and that if you want to accomplish anything from simple daily tasks to big life changing goals, you better not procrastinate. On the surface this seems like common knowledge, but the truth is more complicated. In my own experience, procrastination often doesn’t hurt and there are even times it can even be helpful. Let me elaborate about the positive effects that procrastination can offer you:
Hastily completing your daily tasks isn’t necessarily a smart or a good move. If you think about it, taking a timeout now and then can help in gaining the perspective needed that can only be reached when taking distance for a while. Sometimes a short delay can lead to clarity that will eventually pay off. When you distance yourself from the task at hand and consider some of its other aspects, you might view the issue under new light and see a different solution with the passage of time. Sometimes, you might even come to understand that the correct path in this case is to do nothing. Procrastination creates the opportunity for you to evaluate your process and think things through.
In the modern world where a quick and decisive action is most often rewarded, it can be counter instinctive to simply slow down and do nothing. Sometimes our unconscious mind knows best by telling you to that you should not be working on a task and do nothing – or at least that you should give it more time. Procrastinating could be your intuition or rather the wavelength that your mind is communicating with you.
Imagine a scenario where everyone around you is sure that your next move is the correct one. On the other hand, you are unsure of this decision and do not share your opinion due to a lack of self-confidence in fear of the possibility of having to go against your peers. In this case, although generally not considered the best solution, procrastination is without a doubt the best way to clear your own path. It is a passive response, which can do the trick for you.
We can all agree that nowadays most things in life are much more quickly than they need to be. Everything needs to be done yesterday, regardless the true importance of the matter. Well, I have good news for you, procrastination will allow you to complete tasks at your own pace. This way, when the real deadline arrives, you will be ready to prioritise accordingly. The art of procrastination will give you the opportunity to maintain energy and brainpower for the real tasks and not waste your time rushing to do the unnecessary ones.
The bigger the task ahead the more you procrastinate on it. Do you recall graduate school? Have you completed all of your papers on time? Probably not. When we are faced with a big important task ahead of us it is only natural to procrastinate due to the task being time consuming, daunting or any other excuses we tell ourselves. Now, let me tell you a secret, you may not realize a very simple thing – although you are not actually working on that task, your subconscious mind is already processing and collecting ideas. When you will actively sit down to work on the task, the ideas will start flowing.
When it comes to procrastinating on a decision, you usually do it because of a genuine uncertainty or lack of confidence regarding the right choice. In this case, procrastination helps us by providing new information that makes the decision easier by far.
After procrastinating on a task for some time, you may come to the conclusion that it doesn’t even deserve a spot on your to-do list or calendar. If you are a productive person in nature, the aspiration to procrastinate on a task can mean only one thing for you – the task isn’t as important as you thought at first. Your rule of thumb should always be that tasks you procrastinate on are most certainly the ones that were not worth doing to begin with.
As we’ve established, although procrastination can be damaging to some tasks, for some decisions must be made quickly, and opportunities can be lost without a timely action. Some decisions are better made using this method. Procrastination is without a doubt a useful tool that you ought to make a habit of. If your inner voice says that your response to an action, decision or task is to wait – Listen to it. If you know how to navigate procrastination, you will be able to utilize it to your benefit.
If you found this subject as interesting as I have, I leave you with Tim Urban’s TED Talk called “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” – Enjoy!