By Dara Chea
I have to admit that I have been a master procrastinator, particularly since I started university. Even now, I’m pushing myself to write this since it’s near the deadline already. I have ignored it for days, until I restored my motivation and got bigger and better ideas to write this to you.
Perhaps, most of us have only heard about the shortcomings of procrastination for ages, and we consider it as a harmful habit that can ruin our lives. However, that’s not always true. Believe it or not, sometimes procrastination can be a good thing that we might not be aware of, leading us to overlook some of its benefits in our lives. It depends on how you use the time when you’re procrastinating. Are you putting off a project by surfing the internet to get bigger and better ideas, or are you recklessly spending plenty of time on social media instead of working on your assignment or other coursework?
According to this article in the Smithsonian Magazine, scientists have found that there are two different kinds of procrastination – passive and active. Passive procrastination is when you simply put off tasks and distract yourself with other activities out of fear or laziness to start the work, such as binge-watching reality TV shows. In contrast, active procrastination refers to when you’re being mindful on what you’re spending your time on and choosing to do something else that’s beneficial to your time – if it’s completing an unrelated but important task, or brainstorming, or coordinating with others, etc.
So, ask yourself whether you are an active or passive procrastinator. If you are the active type, embrace it. If you’re not, start embracing active procrastination now! Why? Here are 6 good points of procrastination that you should know about.
- When you’re trying to overcome a lack of motivation
When you lack motivation, you tend to procrastinate. However, don’t worry because you can take advantage of that. Let your mind wander aimlessly during the period of your procrastination until your mind is fresh. You need some time to figure out what most matters to you. When you feel you’re in the mood to do something that’s most interesting to you, start there. You will probably realize a better sense of yourself of what you really enjoy doing. This can help refuel the passion and enthusiasm you have for certain tasks and assignments.
- When you’re seeking creativity
Although putting things aside to do later seems to be a bad habit, some people can make use of it. Many studies have found that procrastination can also help boost your creativity. Why? Because your most creative ideas may come through when you’ve had time to think through and sort out various options to arrive at the most appropriate.
There is a school of thought that the first ideas or solutions to problems are not the best ones. When you’re tired, your brain begins using depleted resources, causing you to be stuck or come up with ineffective ideas. When you take a pause and stop working, your brain can take a break and restart fresh. By stepping back for a while, you can see something from a different angle and find creative solutions when you return to work.
3. When you know you’re at your best
Simply put, some people like to work under pressure and wait until the last minute because they think they become more active and productive when the deadline is tight. So, procrastination can be good for those of us who work best in this way. According to The Journal of Social Psychology by Chun Chu and JN Choi, the study revealed that those who are involved in active procrastination can keep up with deadlines. Observations show they can get things done on time and know how to complete tasks successfully. If you’re this type of person, embrace it.
I normally procrastinate myself and wait until the very last minute to complete my coursework or other stuffs since I feel no distractions and really focused as a train on its smooth track. My ideas seem to rise up as the water flow. Perhaps, I sort of enjoy the last minute pressure that comes with trying to meet a quick deadline, or it could be that the idea I first work on completely stinks.
- Active procrastination helps you get more things done
When you engage in active procrastination, you might be getting some other stuff done on your to-do list as well. You may not be in the mood for the thing you’re working on to get it done immediately. So, you can turn to focus on completing other important, if not prioritized, stuff instead.
For example, if you’re working on multiple projects and are stuck in one project, you can postpone it a bit and do other things like sending emails to your manager. Then, all you’ve got left is that one thing you previously procrastinated on, and possibly, you’ve got no choice but to land on it again. The idea is to make use of your time, by completing other tasks that you will need to work on later anyway.
- Procrastination helps you to make better decisions
It’s a simple fact that rushing to make big life-altering decisions or do important stuff in our lives is not a good idea since we’re not sure whether we’ll be satisfied with the outcome… Procrastination can be helpful in this situation because it provides us the time to think more critically by not jumping into something that might not be right for us. It helps us weigh all the pros and cons of different options. Sometimes we may find it’s not the right time for us to start an action.
- Procrastination helps prevent you from burning out
A “Burnout” is when you are exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally due to too much stress for too long. Signs you may be burned out are:
- you lack motivation to do anything
- you feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained
- you lose interest and have no creativity
- your productivity greatly drops
By and large, the working environment can be extremely challenging, and may lead to intense stress or possibly depression. For instance, working day in and day out is likely to give you a burnout. And that’s why procrastination can come into play here.
In case there are urgent stuff to complete, it must be quite boring and stressful to sit and work for long stretches of time. So, it’s a good idea to put off the work a bit when needed to relax and distract yourself from the workload, so that you can restore your energy and motivation to perform these tasks better. People who can shift from one to the other – work and entertainment – tend to be less stressed out and thus boost the productivity of the work. The good idea of procrastination is that it makes you feel better and happier since you don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
I hope this article can help you see the other side of procrastination. If you have any more interesting benefits of procrastination, do not hesitate to share and drop it down in the comments. If you like this article, please do not forget to give it a like and share. See you in the next posts.
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.
- Active procrastination helps you get more things done