If you’re staring at your screen in confusion right now wondering why in the world I would tell you not to stop procrastinating, I totally get you. We’ve been told that procrastination is a bad thing our wholes lives. So the idea of it being good for us sounds kind of bonkers. But I’ve got some pretty exciting news for you:
Procrastination is wonderful for you mental well-being, silences your inner critic and even makes you more productive and creative.
Still feeling skeptical? Don’t stop procrastinating just yet and let’s talk about it:
Procrastination Wasn’t Always Considered A Bad Thing
Up until very recent history, procrastination was considered an important part of the decision making process. It definitely wasn’t something you would feel guilty about. Greeks and Romans had a high regard for procrastination, expecting people in positions of power to procrastinate until they absolutely needed to make a decision. (source)
This practice was valued because it allowed people the opportunity to mull things over. It wasn’t until the Puritanical era when Jonathan Edwards held a sermon about how we need to stop procrastinating, which he called “the sin and folly of depending on future time”, that procrastination was seen as bad. (source)
And bam! Fast forward to present day and procrastination is a straight up dirty word. I guess Jonathan Edwards gave a pretty convincing sermon…
But guess what buttercup? Our brains spend way too much time on overdrive these days. We are all overworked and absorbing way too much information with little or no rest. Which is terrible for our mental well-being, increasing our risk of burnout and limiting our productivity and creativity. We can’t possibly always be in a state of doing. A little more procrastination might very well be the answer.
Procrastination Is Good For You
We will always have more to do than what we can possibly tackle. And it’s so easy to get lost in it. But our overworked, multitasking brains actually suffer. And that makes us less attentive, less effective and less connected with ourselves.
In fact, The National Sleep Foundation believes that we are working too many hours and sleeping too little… and that makes us inefficient (source). Their solution – napping! Because disconnecting and procrastinating (in the form of a wonderful nap) makes us more alert, helps us concentrate and boosts our memory. Hurrah!
Learning to step back, unplug and procrastinate helps to relieve stress, anxiety and even depression (source). And hey, taking time away from your daily hustle and bustle gives you the chance to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and emotions and take the time to get to know your beautiful self. Developing a kind and loving relationship with yourself is never a bad thing.
It Makes You More Creative
The coolest part about procrastination is that your subconscious brain is still thinking things through, simply at a more relaxed pace. And when the clock is really ticking you jump on things in a more creative way. How could all that leeway time make you more creative?
When you’re working under the pressure of a time constraint your inner critic shuts it’s mouth. You stop being so judgmental of your creation and simply get things done. We are truly our own worst enemies, but when we procrastinate until we really do need to get on it we don’t have time to over think things.
This leads to more original thinking. It gives you the chance to improvise and work in a flow state, making you more uninhibited, creative and expressive. And if that sounds too good to be true, check out this study by John Hopkins Researchers. The flow state is kind of cool guys.
My favourite part – you let go of the idea of perfection, which can be so crippling it can stop us from doing anything at all. But that procrastination didn’t leave you with the time to worry about that. So you simply create freely, unhindered by impossible standards. See why you really shouldn’t stop procrastinating?
There Are Two Different Kinds Of Procrastination
Obviously there’s a huge difference between knowingly putting something off and just sitting on your booty on the couch all day doing nothing. That’s active and passive procrastination. And they both serve a different purpose.
Making time to do nothing at all (which may take the form of sitting on your booty on the couch) is passive procrastination. This can be a great form of self care. But too much of that can be a problem too. It’s all about balance baby!
Knowingly putting off a project or chore and doing other things instead is active procrastination. And it can be incredibly useful. One big reason is because you still get other necessary things done. You may end up cleaning, organizing, food prepping or taking your dog for a walk while you dodge that task. But regardless of what you choose to do, you’re still getting necessary things done. So bravo active procrastinator – your time isn’t being wasted at all!
Whether your procrastination takes the form of jumping into other tasks or laying on the floor with your cat mimicking their meows, you’re still doing something wonderful for your health.
Just remember – there’s a difference between procrastinating and not finishing… Make time to procrastinate (and don’t berate yourself for it) but make sure you make time to get things done too. Balance is everything.
Now it’s your turn – are you glad to know that you don’t need to stop procrastinating? What do you like to do when you procrastinate? What other great things about procrastination would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I am allowed to disconnect and relax when I need to.
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