By focusing on the negative side of procrastination, researchers often ignore its good side, especially when it comes to supercharging your productivity. In fact, most researchers believe that positive procrastination (scheduling tasks for a later date) is key to sustaining a higher level of productivity. It helps you leverage the ‘get on with it’ instincts you have when closer to a deadline, without the pressure of feeling disorganized.
Here are the ways positive procrastination can help improve your productivity.
1. Focus better
A study published in The Journal of Social Psychology revealed that delays resulting from time spent gathering important preparatory information and planning can be beneficial. Purposefully delaying task-solving could mean that you prefer working under pressure, probably as it makes you feel motivated and challenged. This can force you to focus better when handling the task in question.
Also, pushing daunting tasks closer to due dates often creates pressure, and that adrenaline boost may be what you need to get the task done. The right amount of pressure can force you to eliminate distractions and concentrate on the task at hand.
2. Make better decisions
Active procrastinators often plan their tasks in an organized fashion. However, they don’t restrict themselves to following a time structure or preplanned schedules. This allows them the flexibility to deal with new demands and changes as they come. That means they can make better decisions and deal with competing tasks effectively.
Few things hinder productivity and efficiency than time put into tasks that are no longer necessary. Similarly, when you delay important but not urgent tasks, you have the time to accumulate crucial information that can help improve the final outcome. This can also help determine what tasks are necessary.
3. Deactivates your inner perfectionist
One of the reasons your projects go on far longer than necessary is perfectionism. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to switch off that soft voice that keeps telling you, ‘it’s not right yet.’ Active or positive procrastination offers you a practical way to disable that soft voice and become more productive. That means you will adopt the ‘good enough’ attitude because you no longer have the luxury of overanalyzing your work.
4. Improves your creativity
When you actively put off a task for some time, your preoccupation with the task may not disappear entirely. Instead, that pending task ‘runs in the background of your mind, buying you the time you need to find an innovative solution. A 2017 study featured in Personality and Individual Differences revealed a correlation between active procrastination and creative imagination – the ability to come up with creative ideas.
The positive side of procrastination is rarely discussed. Most people believe that it correlates with poor work performance. However, positive procrastination is associated with more creativity, better decision-making, the ability to focus well, and avoiding the downsides of perfectionism. Remember, these benefits may not apply if you always put off tasks indefinitely.