How to harness your procrastination to enhance your life, instead of letting it take over.
But first, ask yourself, what type of procrastinator are you?
1. The Victim of Procrastination
Your procrastination controls your behaviors and negatively impacts your life. You feel you have no control over your actions. You are often attached to television, social media, and end up spending hours being unproductive. You feel wrong for doing this, but you do not take any action to fight it.
Distraction feels like your worst enemy, as well as your best friend. It becomes comfortable to let go of other stresses and relax in this way.
Making a few small changes along with some discipline can give you significant relief from this issue.
2. The Everyday Procrastinator
It can be ongoing or more episodic, such as the deadline procrastinator:
You often procrastinate but manage to deliver your work on time, or with a slight delay. Procrastinating until a deadline nears is usually a trait you have carried for an extended period. You often are rushing into it because of the deadline, but you do provide the work. Without a deadline, you would take much longer.
It can be good or bad.
Your procrastination allows you to think passively about your work; however, if you wait until the last minute, the rush can negatively affect your quality of work.
Tim Urban gives an excellent example of this type of procrastination. He explains when you (imagined as the captain of a ship) want to point the boat in one direction (working on delivering one project); a monkey takes the helm and disturbs the process (watching TV…). The captain, being weak, lets go of the helm and allows the monkey to control the ship until the panic monster (the deadline) shows up and rushes the captain to take control and complete the task quickly.
Sometimes procrastinating in this way produces a great outcome but most of time, the panic produces an unsatisfactory result.
An example of deadline procrastination with a positive outcome might be the “I have a dream” speech. Martin Luther King Jr. still didn’t know what he was going to say 12 hours before the speech. By not formatting his speech, he left it open to improvisation. He came up with the “I have a dream” formula on the spot.
“I have a dream” was not found in his written speech.
3. The Master Procrastinator
How we all should aspire to be! Everyone who has had a meaningful impact on the world mastered their procrastination and often mentioned or even complained about it (It took Leonardo da Vinci about 10 years to complete the Mona Lisa).
A master procrastinator does not feel bad about procrastinating. They give themselves time to delay. They understand the importance of letting work subconsciously develop while doing other things, and certainly do not beat themselves up about it. Here are a few reasons we should all direct ourselves to practice this method of procrastination:
You boost your creativity by allocating time to think, allowing your ideas to generate other ideas.
You take more time to gather information about the topic, and continuously educate yourself to deliver a more accurate work.
Believe it or not, incomplete tasks are easier to remember than successful (complete) tasks. This theory was formed based on a study by the psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik. It is now known as the Zeigarnik effect. When you finish a project, you relieve yourself from retaining the information relevant to that assignment. Without completion, your work remains at the forefront of your mind, even while doing other activities.
The benefits of procrastination, which can come across as “a forced way of delaying,” allow passive thinking and a form of unconscious development
So, what kind of procrastinator are you?