Does procrastination seem like it would be detrimental to productivity? Procrastinating is like the silent killer of opportunities, yet it doesn’t have to be! Putting off until tomorrow what can be accomplished today has a bad reputation, but that may not be entirely accurate.
Don’t believe what your grandmother, first-grade teacher, and university professors told you—procrastination doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, your procrastination and inability to finish tasks until close to the deadline may have some surprising benefits:
1. Procrastination breeds efficiency.
Let’s face it: if you have one week to finish a three-hour task, odds are good that it won’t get done within the first three hours of the week; in fact, chances are good that it may only take close to the last three hours!
Stop beating yourself up about it. If you’re the type of person who works more efficiently and productively when under time pressure, work with it. You’ll still finish your tasks on time, and it will likely leave you feeling happier than if you spent the week worrying about how weak you are.
2. Delaying tasks reduces unnecessary efforts.
Have you ever turned in a piece of work only to be told it wasn’t needed anymore? This can happen with any task if you jump onto it as soon as it’s assigned. Things can change without warning in any industry or job. If you put off some tasks until closer to the deadline, you could save yourself some extra work if things change without warning.
3. Be open to more enjoyable things.
Procrastinating gives you more control over your focus, but does that make you happier if you miss out on important activities? Of course not!
Procrastinating can be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy something today and still finish what needs to be done before the deadline—even if that means just hours or minutes before—so you’ve achieved what you set out to accomplish while having some fun along the way!
4. Procrastinating can reduce anxiety.
How much procrastinating can help you feel less anxious depends on two things: how worried you are about the task at hand and whether or not you procrastinate.
We often put off tasks we really, truly don’t want to do—things that make us uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. But if you give yourself time to think about them and tackle them when you’re ready, you can lower your overall anxiety about getting the job done.
5. Procrastinating can bring about new ideas or improvements.
While you’re procrastinating, your mind remains aware that the task must be completed eventually. You might start coming up with ways to enhance what you do every day at home and at work.
In his book Wait, Professor Frank Partnoy from the University of San Diego wrote a lot about the benefits of taking time to think about things. Procrastinating gives your ideas time to develop; it gives you permission to sit down and tackle the task after your subconscious has had time to think it through. You might just find that procrastinating leads to better results in the long run!
6. Procrastination makes you a rebel, sort of.
Only in the way that it goes against modern norms. In ancient Greece and Rome, putting things off was seen as a sign of wealth and leadership. If you had time to sit around and think about a decision before acting on it, that was seen as a sign of wealth and leadership.
If you need that time to reflect and consider, don’t feel guilty. Maybe you just need some quiet introspection. At any rate, don’t stress over it too much—take those moments as needed and appreciate what life has to offer!
7. Conquering the task at the last minute provides an adrenaline rush.
Whoo-wee! And you’re done—doesn’t that feel great? If you find yourself addicted to that feeling of accomplishment when something important gets done at the last minute, don’t deprive yourself of that pleasure.
Procrastination is underrated.
If you’re highly skilled at procrastination, don’t feel bad about yourself. Put things off until they need to be done—at least they get done! In fact, your “bad” habit could actually lead to higher-quality work as a result!