Ever asked yourself if there’s a way to learn how to stop procrastinating? Tired of anxiety and panic because of looming deadlines? Have you already tried many time management techniques and found only one effective way to stay productive—to tie yourself to the chair?
We can relate to these questions, as many of us have asked ourselves the same things. Procrastination seems an enemy to all of us—something that makes us feel lazy, guilty, and stressed out.
But want to know the best part?
Perhaps, procrastination can be to your advantage; instead of a flaw.
How does it work? Firstly, what does procrastination mean?
Here’s a typical procrastination definition: an act of postponing or delaying some tasks often connected with work or studies.
It doesn’t mean you forget to complete some assignments or get fired because of your laziness. More often, the real problem is due to the anxiety and stress you feel before a deadline.
In other words, procrastinators usually do as much work as non-procrastinators—the difference between them is how many hours they spend on actually completing the tasks.
Dr. Piers Steel surveyed more than 24,000 people around the globe to find out how many workers regularly drag their feet while completing routine tasks.
Ready to know the surprising answer?
95% of people confess they play the waiting game at least from time to time. Also, one-quarter of the participants classify themselves as chronic procrastinators.
Just imagine! Every fourth person is postponing doing something. Perhaps, their idling has negative effects you don’t even know about.
But that doesn’t matter. Why?
Because today you’ll learn the benefits of procrastination!
Let’s remember one popular procrastination quote. Bill Gates once said: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
One of the main features of lazy workers is that they can handle enormous tasks when deadlines are near.
This idea leads us to an interesting result—you shouldn’t try to stop procrastination. Instead, you should learn the art of procrastination and use it to your advantage.
Then, it’s time to reveal the secret of structured procrastination.
All this time you were looking for techniques to tell you how to avoid procrastination. But that is a long and challenging process—which we don’t like. The philosopher John Perry developed the term “structured procrastination.”
Dr. Perry confessed being a lazy worker himself and searched for various ways to help people with this irritating problem. His main idea about overcoming procrastination was challenging to accept—those who work idly rarely do nothing at all.
Just think about it:
What do you do when avoiding a difficult job? We bet you don’t waste your time by looking at the ceiling.
The art of procrastination isn’t about putting you to work no matter what. Honestly, postponing your tasks can be really useful for you.
The main goal is to get benefits from these acts of laziness!
Even procrastinating at work isn’t as bad as you think. Want some proof?
You can watch this procrastination TED talk by Tim Urban, famous blogger. He proves that creative people aren’t immune to idleness.
So, what are the benefits of procrastination?
If you’re a creative person, you can turn many negative situations to your advantage. When we talk about delaying tasks, it’s essential to analyze the reasons.
The causes of procrastination differ a lot.
According to John Perry, there are two primary types:
- When you delay things intentionally.
- When you postpone because of fear.
If you’re happy to delay something, and nothing pushes you to procrastination—relax. This is a healthy and normal state.
There are lots of positive effects of procrastination.
Here are the best ones:
- Procrastination reduces anxiety.
If you delay important tasks and can’t make yourself accomplish them, probably it is a boring and challenging activity that demands a lot of resources, for example, time.
By delaying such tasks, many people accumulate the energy to boost their productivity and accomplish routine work in the shortest time possible.
By the way:
- Procrastination teaches us to be faster.
While you’re asking yourself “Why do I procrastinate?” your task is still waiting, whether it’s a promise to clean the room or a challenging assignment. Instead, you open a browser, searching for answers, scrolling through articles… And then—there are only 5 hours left to complete your thesis!
What will you do? Panic?
Probably. But also, you will find the energy to do the work twice as fast as you could do without this boost of adrenaline.
- Procrastination helps you to be creative.
Some people define procrastination as additional time to think about the task and get inspired. And this is true—when you wait before completing a task you develop new ideas for your project.
As a result, you start working full of fresh thoughts and plans which are productive for your job or studies.
- Procrastination saves a lot of effort.
You may wonder:
“How can I save effort when a ‘panic monster’ scares me to death?”
Well, imagine you have to write an essay, and there is a deadline to accomplish this task.
At the end of the first week, you realize that the topic is more specific than you thought.
Next, your teacher tells that you don’t need to write 15 pages; 5 would be okay.
And then—wow—your teacher wins the lottery and decides to quit and become an actor!
The best part? You don’t have to write your essay at all.
Who loses? All non-procrastinators, the students with completed essays which were rewritten twice.
If you’re a procrastinator, perhaps you’ve heard the quotation: “Never do today any task that may disappear by tomorrow.”
- Procrastination makes your routine tasks easier.
Ever wondered why people procrastinate? Because they don’t want to do some boring or challenging task.
It may seem strange, but when a person tries to escape one task, all others become much more pleasant.
In other words, you’re unusually happy to wash dishes, read an academic book, or go to the store if you do it instead of that enormous challenging task waiting for you.
- Procrastination can fix your perfectionism.
Many people who routinely postpone work often call themselves perfectionists. And this fact influences how slowly they complete tasks.
When you procrastinate, you don’t have enough time to polish every detail. In this case, if you learn how to beat procrastination, it doesn’t mean you will spend less time on the work.
Because your high expectations can interfere with the duration of your work. You’ll take longer to make it perfect.
Procrastination synonyms are different depending on the person—some think about laziness and unproductivity, others associate it with creativity and fresh ideas.
If the previous benefits are familiar to you, and you use procrastination to your advantage, then overcoming procrastination isn’t for you.
But you can still learn more discipline by following some helpful tips.
Since you’re interested in how to deal with procrastination, you’re not satisfied with your productivity. Maybe you’re stressed because of deadlines or being criticized at work.
We collected some effective tips which will show you how to procrastinate productively:
- Don’t blame yourself.
Even if you can’t do the work in time—never blame yourself for laziness. Yes, this is a significant problem which you should resolve.
But when you feel guilty, anxious, and useless, you become even less productive and can harm your health.
- Prioritize your tasks.
If you’re searching for ways how not to procrastinate, you should define the causes of why you put off completing a project.
When you postpone the tasks because of fear, you should make yourself do the most challenging thing first. The reason is—you can spend a long time panicking if you don’t.
As Mark Twain said: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first in the morning.”
But if you’re not stressed about your procrastination—do the small tasks first. It can boost your productivity and make you ready for a big assignment.
- Organize your workplace.
We often can’t develop effective ways to accomplish the work because we need to organize our workplace including tools, documents, and communication. It’s easy to get distracted when looking for things lost in the chaos of your desk.
By the way, it doesn’t mean you should keep everything in strict order. But arranging your resources so that you can easily find any you need would be a helpful step in overcoming procrastination.
- Plan every task which makes you procrastinate.
Any large project becomes easier when you divide it into parts. That’s why you should plan every assignment that seems boring and difficult.
Separate a big project into small chunks which can be accomplished in 30 minutes each.
For example, if you need to write a thesis, don’t think about the whole task—today you can research one aspect of the topic, tomorrow you’ll write the introduction, after a month there will be an hour for presentation and so on.
- Procrastinate usefully.
Turn everything that distracts you into structured procrastination. For example, if you like to watch YouTube videos, choose only those that teach you something new—it can be lectures from top universities or interesting DIYs.
As a result, you’re engaged in self-development every minute you procrastinate.
- Get the details.
The usual frequent reason why people procrastinate is the lack of instructions. If you don’t know what is expected of you—it’s really difficult to start the work.
People tend to postpone business they don’t understand. When you face a challenging task, the first thing you should do is an analysis of the assignment.
For example, if you need to write an essay, read a useful guide on how to accomplish it. You can find a helpful essay writing guide on our blog.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people.
There are a number of questions which can trigger your anxiety. One of them is “Why do I procrastinate while my colleges/friends/relatives don’t?”
This is a self-destructive question, so don’t try to speed up your timing because of your colleges or competitors. Improve yourself without comparing.
- Make a schedule.
Not only is this an excellent way to remember every task of the day, but this is also a tool to beat chronic procrastination.
Schedules motivate you to keep up with your daily routine and tasks at work. Always use checkboxes in your lists. It helps you to reward yourself when you do a great job.
Also, schedules are a lot of fun! On Pinterest, you can find hundreds of weekly planner examples. Create a schedule or choose a planner that is pleasant for you to fill in—be creative with doodles, stickers, and quotes.
- Take breaks.
There’s a fact about productivity which is familiar to everyone. When you take short breaks during your work, you quicken your pace and improve productivity.
Set the timer to work for 25 minutes, and then have a 5-minute break. Thousands of people use this technique to overcome procrastination and stay motivated during the day.
- Turn off your devices.
Ever heard of nomophobia? This is a fear which many of us have when the batteries of our smartphones are dead. Do you have this feeling? If you do, it’s a good idea to overcome it.
Social media is the biggest distraction in modern life. Just leave your smartphone in another room or a backpack and count how often you search for your device.
It seems unreal—but the majority of people look for their smartphones 2–3 times during just ten minutes!
To avoid procrastination, turn off your smartphone for at least 2 hours. You’ll see how more productive your work will become.
According to the Dr. Steel’s statistics, 25% of adults experience chronic procrastination. They’re worried about laziness and uselessness, while in reality—there’s nothing wrong with procrastination.
The effects of procrastination on your life are enormous. But nobody should say they’re always negative.
Moreover, there are a minimum of negative effects. Instead, this postponing characterizes you as a creative perfectionist.
The psychology of procrastination isn’t the simplest thing—the first thing you should ask yourself as a procrastinator is “Why do I procrastinate?”
The causes and reasons will advise you what to do with your idleness—is it possible to turn it into an advantage? Or should you search for ways on how to stop procrastinating?
But it doesn’t matter which you choose—never blame yourself and never compare yourself to others.
Self-improvement is a great hobby, and Smart.study wishes you luck with that!