3 Unusual Benefits of Procrastination

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Procrastination, we’ve all been there, (not) done that. We might avoid completing something because it’s boring or unpleasant. Maybe we doubt ourselves and think we’re incapable. Or maybe we’re just tired. Either way, this behavior can negatively affect our personal and professional lives.

Also, procrastination is in direct contrast to our society’s most coveted asset: human productivity. Productivity is deeply ingrained into our collective consciousness. It’s reinforced by corporate culture, productivity apps, “side hustles,” loved ones and the nagging guilt we feel when we’re not “producing.”

Our culture equates procrastination to laziness and failure.

With such a bad reputation, are there any benefits of procrastination? Today, we’ll explore this question, and find out how procrastination can help us.

1.   Procrastination Can Promote Productivity

This may seem counterintuitive, and to a certain degree, it is. But for some of us, there’s a sweet spot of procrastination that creates a healthy level of stress. We use this stress as fuel to complete necessary, time-sensitive tasks. Some psychologists call this deadline-driven behavior.

This behavior requires us to use a moderate amount of procrastination, while still allowing time for thorough completion of tasks. It’s different from procrastination where we wait until the very last minute. Doing this increases our stress more than necessary and may lead to poor outcomes.

2.   Procrastination Promotes Creativity

Research suggests that procrastination increases creativity. Again, this only applies to moderate procrastination.

In a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, participants were asked to brainstorm business solutions. They were divided into low, medium, and high procrastination groups. A set amount of funny YouTube videos unrelated to the task were provided (1 for the low group, 4 for the medium, and 8 for the high). People in the medium group, who watched 4 videos, had the most creative ideas.

Stepping away from a task may boost creativity, as it gives us time to find different approaches to a problem. It helps us avoid “procrastination.” Procrastinators start a task immediately in an attempt to finish quickly, often at the expense of quality or extra effort. They may reach for the “low hanging fruit” solutions.

On the flip side, moderate procrastination gives us time to consider alternatives, and subconsciously access useful existing knowledge.

3.   Procrastination Promotes Prioritization

Procrastination may be our way of protecting ourselves from exhaustion or burnout. When we’re not feeling up to a task, we may procrastinate in favor of a more desirable one. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, provided we aren’t harming ourselves (i.e. coping with alcohol, etc.), or avoiding our emotional, social, or financial responsibilities.

Procrastination may also give us the flexibility to prioritize our work. We may put off one task for another that’s more urgent. This can help us handle immediate needs that arise, even if they weren’t our original goal.


Despite the negative perceptions, there are benefits of procrastination. It may boost productivity and creativity and help us prioritize tasks. But we shouldn’t do it recklessly. Like most things, procrastination is only useful when done in moderation.






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