We all know procrastination is a bad thing.
It’s about putting off something we don’t really want to do. And then, when we have to do the task, we often feel more stressed out because we have even less time to do it.
But, what if there was a way to make procrastination work for us?
Her professor was an organizational psychologist, and challenged her to collect data.
So, Jihae went into a bunch of companies, had people fill out surveys about how often they procrastinate, and then asked their bosses to rate how creative and innovative those employees were.
As it turns out, people who procrastinate moderately were rated as more creative than people who either didn’t procrastinate or procrastinated too much.
The theory is that people who rush in and finish a task right after learning about it don’t really give themselves a chance to play with the problem. They’re so focused on getting it done right away that they tend to go with one of the first solutions they come up with.
And people who procrastinate too much only focus on the task because the deadline is right around the corner. At this point, it’s hard to incubate ideas because they’re under immediate stress to get the job done before it’s due.
But the people in between who procrastinate a little bit, but still make sure they have enough time to get the job done well before the deadline – they’re in the sweet spot.
They have the opportunity to cook up new ideas in the back of their minds as they procrastinate and do other things. Their mind can wander and wonder about the nature of the problem and why it exists, instead of just rushing to get the problem done.
SEOT is an acronym to help us get the most out of life. The T stands for Tinker.
(It’s explained more in the goal setting slideshow)
SEOT Step to Success #12 is to PROCRASTINATE WITH PURPOSE
Tinkering is all about playing with our ideas to see what happens.
If the research suggests that procrastinating a little bit might actually help us be more creative, then how might we do that?
Well, if we’re going to procrastinate with purpose, then we would need to make sure we understand the problem first so that our mind can work on it in the background as we procrastinate and do other things.
Think about your goals.
- Wonder about the nature of your goal.
- Wonder what’s keeping you from achieving this goal?
- Wonder to yourself, what might be the next action you might do to help you reach this goal?
You don’t have to do any action right now. You’re just wondering about what you might do.
- Maybe you would try to eat healthier snacks.
- Maybe you might try to avoid the middle part of the grocery story to avoid buying packaged foods.
- Maybe you might stop using your credit cards because the interest is so high and instead just pay with debit or cash.
- Maybe you might ask that friend if they want to grab a coffee.
Just wonder about your goals and what you might try to reach your objective.
Then procrastinate and see what pops in your head.
WARNING: Procrastinating with purpose only works if
- you understand the assignment first, AND
- you make sure you have enough time to complete the task before the deadline.
Otherwise, it’s just procrastinating.