We are so used to hearing the word ‘procrastination’ in a bad light, so it’s no surprise that we all have a negative connotation attached to it in our minds.
We’re told not to procrastinate, that procrastination leads to time wasting, and that leads to stress and a cluttered mind. That’s true in most cases, but there are a few occasions when a little procrastination (just a little) can actually be helpful. Granted, these times are few and far between, and should never be an excuse for simply putting off a task that you just don’t want to do, but in some cases, procrastination is positive.
When? Let’s check out seven times when waiting just a little could benefit you a lot.
1: Not Replying to Emails Immediately
We receive several emails throughout the space of a day, and the temptation is to reply to them straightaway and therefore eliminate the problem from our to do list. That’s true in most cases, but not all. For instance, not replying straightaway to an email gives you more time to think about what to say, and what to do about it. How do you know that a little extra information isn’t going to come your way in the next hour or two? That piece of information could be vital in formulating a better reply to your email.
2: Taking Longer to Brainstorm an Idea
You might think that brainstorming has to be done straightaway, to get all those ideas down on a piece of paper and put a plan in place. In some cases, yes, but not always. Good ideas come and go, and bad ideas do the same. By writing down what you know so far and then waiting to complete your brainstorming session, you’re giving yourself more time to think about other possible creative avenues. Creativity doesn’t strike on demand, sometimes it needs to be encouraged, and when under pressure creativity seems to go missing.
3: Taking More Time to Research Possible Alternatives to a Problem
You might want to get a problem solved quickly and get rid of it from your hands, but there are more answers to problems than you realize. A little like the brainstorming example we’ve just given, jumping to conclusion and solution number one eliminates the chances of a better route coming to the fore. Give yourself the time to think about it for just a little while longer and see what comes to mind.
4: When You Can’t Figure Out the Best Way to Prioritize
In this case, procrastinating for too long isn’t the best idea, but a short while could give you the insight you need to make a decision. We’re so quick to prioritize and get things done, but weighing up the pros and cons helps you come to a better solution. In addition, every single day in the office means jobs will come your way that you didn’t realize; by waiting to do your prioritizing, you can minimize the disruption of an urgent job heading towards your desk and throwing your to do list up in the air.
5: When You Think that Joint Collaboration Might be a Better Option
It might be that you have a task to do but you feel that collaborating on that task might be a better option. In that case, wait until the people you need to collaborate with are free, and do the best you can do. Quick doesn’t always mean better.
6: When You’re Planning a Presentation or Talk
If you are about to give a presentation, sometimes it is better to wait until nearer to the time to plan your facts and figures. The reason? You’re getting more up to date data to use, and that means your point will be far more valid and real.
7: When You Need a Little Extra Push
It’s not a good idea to rely on procrastination to get every task done, but if you know you’re going to do better if you have a little pressure, e.g. a time constraint, then it’s best to wait a little and do a far better job overall!
As you can see, procrastination isn’t always the terrible thing we’re led to believe!