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When Procrastination Is Beneficial

Five cases when a little bit of procrastination may actually benefit you.

When Procrastination Is Beneficial

Earlier Alexandra Borshchenyuk wrote an article for HSE Illuminated about dangers of procrastination and there are certainly a lot of issues that come out when one keeps leaving things one should do until later, often because one does not want to do them. As Alexandra pointed out, it may result in stress, loss of time, intrapersonal conflict and may be harmful to the work and study performance.

However, in this article I would like to see the other side here and would dare to claim that under certain circumstances procrastination may actually be beneficial for you.

You work in creative industry

There’s no denying that procrastination chips away at productivity. But when it comes to the creative process, Adam Grant, a world-famous professor of management and psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has found that procrastination may boost creativity. He undertook research at the time of writing his book ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World’ of the college students and find out that procrastination helps in finding new unusual approaches and ideas.

You are a perfectionist

John Perry, who is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University, has been dealing with procrastination for decades and in his essay ‘Structured Procrastination’ and the follow-up book ‘The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing’ he recommends to anyone who found themselves obsessive over infinitely looking for flaws in their work to begin to deliberately put everything off until the very last moment. Then simply there will not be any time to find ways to improve one’s work but also there will be much more room for new activities and ideas in the meantime.

You need to prioritize stuff

Also in his work John Perry claims that sometimes people need to be patient and let others resolve the issues by themselves. Often we are not able to just let things go because of the desire to keep everything under control. It creates an illusion of security but takes too much resource from us and does not allow others to develop. If one intuitively puts stuff off and after a while it disappears by itself, it means that you brain has intuitively chosen the right tactics to focus on truly important tasks.

You experience information overload

In the past you have never had problems with getting things done but now you have to force yourself? Perhaps this is how your brain signals that it is time to take your mind off the things, deeds, tasks and people. You certainly in need of little procrastination. Arrange an informational detox for yourself and think about how to revise your priorities and get rid of excess stuff.

You feel out of your element or people around you don’t meet your values

This may be the wake-up call for a change in your life. Even if the situation is such that it can’t be changed quickly, the very realization of this fact will help you to formulate your goals for the future more accurately.

Text by
Rostislav Miretskiy