Why is Procrastination Good for You?

Why is Procrastination Good for You?

Insights | 09 June 2010

Comedian, Ellen DeGeneres, did a skit on the value of procrastination.

I watched the skit on an airplane to San Francisco.
On the way to a conference after pulling off an all nighter.

I had left writing my conference presentation until last minute and somehow finished it in the taxi on the way to the airport.

DeGeneres’ words about the value of procrastination made me feel a little bit better about my approach.

“Procrastination is not the problem. It is the solution.
It is the universe’s way of saying stop, slow down, you move too fast. Listen to the music.
So celebrate good times, come on(….) Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”
– Ellen DeGeneres

Although traditionally undervalued, procrastination is an important step in the working process.

Procrastination allows you to re-consider your approach towards a looming project.
It gives you the time to mull over a problem before attacking.
It forces you, no matter how reluctant you may be, to step back and to take your mind off the task.

Procrastination, and its after effects, can provide you with a fresh perspective that may help you to effectively tackle large-scale projects.

When you become overwhelmed by stress, the emotional parts of your brain override the rational parts—hijacking your best-laid plans, intentions, and strategies. In order to permanently change behavior in ways that stand up under pressure, you need to learn how to take advantage of the powerful emotional parts of the brain that remain active and accessible even in times of stress.

High stress and the physical need for procrastination may produce a worker who looks like they’re slacking off; going for that second cup of coffee, spending too long cleaning their desk – or for a freelancer, the options are even more numerous.

But it is much worse to sit in front of one’s computer staring at a screen, forcing one’s brain into submission and towards a direction that it doesn’t want to go.

Trust and follow the tide of your thought processes.

You will work it out and it will all come together.
You will think of the things essential to the predecessor tasks, and you will write them down and clear them out.
The human brain is an incredible thing, and it is working a lot harder than we think.

When we loosen up, we free ourselves of rigid ways of thinking and being, allowing us to be creative and to see things in new ways. We find solutions where we were stuck. We discover epiphanies in places we weren’t even looking.

Procrastination is a means to deny stress and to stall the generation of adrenaline to complete the task.

Once the task has been clearly analysed and thought through, and a realisation of the looming deadline once again rears its head, adrenaline kicks in to save the day.

Adrenalin, that hormone that is secreted in response to stress, provides us with a way to compete with pressure and to get things done.

Adrenalin is like that fountain of youth that gives the amazing and misunderstood energy to pull all-nighters and punch through work at an incredible rate of knots.

We clear mountains with our new confidence as we plough through the tasks at hand.

Remember, plan the extra time needed for procrastination. It is more valuable than you may think.

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