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Why procrastination is good for you

Last updated on: June 05, 2013 13:53 IST

Why procrastination is good for you


Ansh Patel, Courtesy YouthIncMag

Procrastinating is the first enemy of productivity, say parents and teachers. But science, thankfully, says it's good for you. Find out why.

Ever had that feeling when a deadline is looming ominously over you and you simply cannot get motivated right till the last moment?

Some people dread that feeling while others thrive on it.

Regardless of how people may choose to respond to it, procrastination is a habit deeply ingrained into the human mind and many of us fight a constant battle against it to stay up to pace with time.

But is it really our foe?

Or are we so blinded in the mundanity of our daily routines and deadlines that we fail to see the plethora of benefits which procrastination offers to us?

Defined as the habit of delaying something right up to the final moment, procrastination is often seen as a prime evil by the Gods of Time Management and is looked down upon in the professional sphere.

In a world where deadlines define our daily tasks, it is often wise to give some thought to the old saying of 'Take time to smell the roses'.

If you try forcing your brain too much to meet a deadline for a project or an assignment, your brain functions poorly to the point of being un-productive.

What is recommended is to take time off so you can give your mind some much-needed breathing space.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/

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The many benefits of procrastinating

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Among the breed of procrastinators, the most common ones happen to be active procrastinators.

By purposely delaying their tasks till the final moment, they gain a variety of benefits which are well worth looking into:

Allows more time to think

Thinking about a project or a research paper passively, rather than actively forcing yourself to finish it from the very beginning not only results in a well thought-out end-product but also a more cohesive one.

Better state of mind

By delaying something you are consciously attempting to divert your thoughts away from it along with the anxiety that comes with it.

Nothing bogs down your mind's productivity than one that is too centered and worried about its outcome.

Delaying it puts you in a much calmer state of mind which could be an ideal place for solutions that could immediately resolve or speed up the task that you had delayed.

A win-win situation for both us and our mind, wouldn't you say?

Automatic resolution

It is a natural human tendency to always assume the worst when tasked with a herculean, nigh-impossible job.

Sometimes that fear might drive you to do crazy things.

But being chill and procrastinating might actually save you from all that trouble if the said task met its own resolution.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/

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Adrenalin rush helps you function better

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Many psychologists are of the opinion that a relaxed and reinvigorated brain performs more efficiently under pressure than a tired and exhausted one.

The rush produced by adrenaline makes not only our body but also our mind work faster.

Many active procrastinators are said to thrive on such a rush that last-minute completion can give.

Aram Kuredjian, a final year student of California State University agrees, saying that "Instead of ceaselessly forcing myself to finish my project, I procrastinate by relaxing and doing what I enjoy, and when I get back to the same task, I am able to do it more efficiently and quickly than it would have been possible before. The trick? My mind is a lot more relaxed now and can think clearer.";

Perhaps as Aram states, this clarity of thought is the most essential state for human mind to achieve.

One can think of it as the optimal state in which we function best.

Acclaimed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his New York Times bestseller Flow that when the human mind achieves this state of optimality, people typically experience enjoyment and involvement with what they are doing -- even if it happens to be a mundane task.

It is important to realise that we aren't slaves to the deadlines and our daily tasks need not define our lives.

There is plenty of scope to relax and take time to enjoy whatever the present brings for you without needlessly worrying about the uncertainty of the future.

Don't fret about wasting time and putting things off. Go forth boldly!

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/

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