By: James Mallon
Parents, teachers, and other adults lead us to cringe at the word, but procrastination can actually be a POSITIVE thing.
Procrastination is good for a wide array of reasons. First, procrastinating can instill valuable characteristics in people. By seeing how much you can accomplish when your back is against the wall makes it necessary to gain confidence in yourself and in your work. Who would’ve thought you could read a whole book in one night? Or write and insightful paper the period before it was due? This confidence helps you to worry less, because you know you can achieve what you demand out of yourself.
Throughout life, there will be times you can’t plan or manage everything. You might be blindsided by a big project at work, or everything might be happening on one day. Procrastination gives you experience in dealing with stressful problems and remedying the situation.
Another benefit of procrastination is that it allows you to accomplish other things. The best procrastinators rarely do nothing. For example, the reason you waited until the last minute to do homework might be because you had a club after school or maybe just wanted to hang out with a friend you rarely see. Procrastination can help lead to a balanced life.
Not only does procrastination help you to lead a balanced life, it can also help you determine your interests. Would you ever wait to do something you really wanted to do? Probably not. Therefore, procrastination is often caused by a dislike of the subject. If you procrastinate talking to someone, or completing a task, it’s a telling indicator there is something distasteful to you that’s causing you to procrastinate about these things.
Also, procrastination can be productive. This might seem like an oxymoron at first, but Stanford professor, John Perry, calls it ‘Structural Procrastination’. His theory is that if you make a list with some super challenging tasks at the top, it will make it easier to complete the other ones as long as you’re procrastinating from the really challenging activities. Piers Steel, a professor at the University of Calgary, also carries a similar belief emphasized in his book,’The Procrastination Equation’ (which took him over a decade to complete). “My best trick is to play my projects off against each other, procrastinating on one by working on another,” says Steel. The variety of benefits he discusses makes it abundantly evident that procrastination can be positive.
Perhaps it is time that society returns to its original view of procrastination. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all favored and supported procrastination. Not to mention individuals who were known to procrastinate, including everyone from Saint Augustine to Leonardo Da Vinci.
While adults flood our senses with propaganda against procrastination, consider the words of Mark Twain, “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what can be done the day after tomorrow just as well” or Marthe Troly-Curtin who once said, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted at all.”
Procrastination may not be for everyone, but for those who have the audacity to test the boundaries of time and harness the valuable tool of procrastination- take pride. You are not alone.