I can procrastinate like a boss. I can spend hours messing around on Facebook; more if I have something particularly urgent to do. I thought I was just really unproductive and a bit rubbish, but actually there are several reasons procrastination can be a good thing. Here are three of them:
1. Proctrastinating Forces Focus.
If you have seven hours in which to complete a task, you can probably make it last at least six and a half, while you take your time being distracted by shiny things and random thoughts and social media and checking your bank balance. Once you’re down to the last half-hour though, you switch the TV off, close the Facebook tab on your browser and lo! it only takes you twenty-five minutes to actually do the job. There’s nothing like rushing to meet a deadline to create laser-like focus, where you don’t stop to check email or read clickbait tweets until you’re finished. When we procrastinate, we develop focus.
2. Procrastinating Gives you Energy
When you realise that piece of work is due in this afternoon and not next week, as you had previously thought, the fear of being late causes you to produce adrenaline. Adrenaline gives you the energy to get the job done in record time and leave you feeling buzzed, feeling great that you’ve completed that horrible task you didn’t want to do in the first place and inspired to begin new tasks. When we procrastinate, we gain energy.
3. Procrastinating Helps Shorten Your To-Do List
If you’re avoiding doing something, you suddenly acquire a great desire to do all the other jobs you had hanging around. You cross smaller jobs off your to-do list with gay abandon as you happily avoid that one thing you don’t want to do. And of course, when you get closer to your deadline you’ll get on and do that one thing with laser focus and boundless energy, so it’s a win-win situation. It turns out, when we procrastinate we get stuff done!
I am one of those people who is mostly motivated by deadlines. If I have a week to do something I tend to think there’s no point in starting it until the day before it’s due. This only works for some tasks though, and the trick is to recognise which ones. If it’s a job I’ve never done before I know I can’t afford to leave it til the last minute and get it wrong – especially if it’s for a client. But the things I do for myself, the ones I’ve done a million times before, those ones can be left til the last minute – and they usually are!