Procrastination isn't all bad

I’m a procrastinator, plain and simple. If it can be done later, that’s when it will be done. At some point anyway.

I’ve received a lot of flak over the years about my procrastination. What I’ve learned though, is that procrastination really isn’t all that bad of a characteristic. In fact, it’s never caused me any memorable problems. Stress? Yes. Problems? No.

In college I never missed any assignments. I just waited until the last possible minute to start working on them. In business, I’ve never missed a deadline I needed to hit. I have come dangerously close, but I’ve never failed to deliver what I was supposed to. In my personal life, I’ve received more criticism for when I do things, like buy gifts, than I ever have for not doing something at all.

I consider procrastination to be a problem only if it is actually causing problems, like not delivering results when they are supposed to be delivered. And if you fall into that category, consider reading my post about Evernote. It will help you organize your mind immensely. If you aren’t in that category, let me offer a bit of justification for your procrastination you can call upon the next time you’re criticized.

Hypothetical trip to the mall

Consider you’re cutting it really close to being late for an incredibly important meeting. (This shouldn’t be hard for many procrastinators, considering we often procrastinate leaving for scheduled appointments until the last minute.)

Now consider you have to pick something up from the mall that’s required for the meeting. How quickly can you get in and out of the mall when you absolutely have to?

Now consider that you had instead planned ahead and visited the mall weeks before the meeting. (Much harder for many procrastinators to consider.) How long did that mall visit take? Even if you don’t despise shopping as much as I do, you may have taken a few minutes to cruise for a better parking spot, slowed the walk-run pace to a regular walk, and grabbed a slice of cookie cake.

Same task. More time.

How procrastination helps

Procrastination has a tendency to improve focus and eliminate distractions. When you’re racing through the mall on a mission and a deadline quickly approaching, everything designed to get your attention, doesn’t. You’re focused.

Procrastination also has a tendency to improve efficiency. If something important is on the line, you can do things faster without sacrificing any degree of quality. You find a parking spot faster. You scan the mall directory like a speed-reader. And the pace of your stride is faster than the elderly mall walker you blow past to get to your destination.

Same task. Less time.

Procrastination also offers some help prioritizing. Consider you went to the mall weeks before the meeting and picked up what you needed. Then the meeting was canceled. Now you’ve wasted time and have to waste more time doing what we love most, returning items at the mall. Waiting until the last minute helps ensure you aren’t wasting your time on something that doesn’t need to be done at all.

It’s not perfect

Procrastination does have its downfalls, not the least of which is that it is certainly a more stressful way to live life. Those of us shopping on Christmas Eve often wonder what life would be like if we were not throwing Muay Thai elbows for the last electronic device we know our loved one absolutely had to have.

But, as I’ve demonstrated, it’s not all bad.

Now, you get to guess how much time elapsed between writing this and actually getting it up on the blog. And also get back to doing what you were supposed to be doing when you decided to procrastinate and read this post.