Here’s Why Procrastination Can Be a Good Thing

By Robert Half on September 1, 2015 at 2:25pm

Procrastination is often thought of as a bad word, that it’s tied to being lazy and unproductive. But there may be valid reasons to procrastinate. Read on to learn why.

We all know people who do not excel at procrastination. They wait so long to get things done that they miss deadlines and drop the ball, leaving everyone annoyed. For them, the tendency to procrastinate is a real liability and one that should be fixed.

Yet not everyone who delays work has a problem to that degree, though. In fact, procrastination isn’t always a problem –– it can be an asset. Here are some instances when it makes sense to hold off on assignments:

You’re feeling distracted

Sometimes it’s just plain hard to focus. Maybe you have a sick child you’re worried about or you just received criticism from your boss. It can make it difficult to focus on detail-oriented tasks. Rather than muddling through them and making mistakes, you may find it’s better to tackle them later when you can give them the attention they deserve.

You don’t want to make a snap decision

There may be times when it’s wise to ask for a short extension to get something done right. For instance, you’re asked 15 minutes before the end of the workday for your opinion on a critical matter. You want to offer thoughtful input, but your mind is focused on finishing out the day's tasks and the quick deadline is overwhelming. It may be better to wait until first thing in the morning, when you feel less rushed.

You know your peak productivity hours

Some of us are morning people, sharp and ready for the day as soon as we reach our desks. Others, not so much. Procrastination may make sense if you know you’ll perform better at another time of day.

You’re unmotivated

Yes, there are times when you just need to kick yourself into gear and get that boring assignment done. However, in certain instances, you can reignite your passion by handling an interesting task first and letting that increased motivation get you through less desirable work afterward.

You’re more productive under pressure

Not everyone does their best work when they have plenty of time to get things done. In fact, some people might work on a project gradually over time, but never give 100 percent effort. The end result may be less-than-stellar. If you know you thrive under pressure and produce great work at the last minute, procrastination can be your friend.

Are you a procrastinator? What impact has it had on the way you manage your work?

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