You may have noticed that some of the brightest students in your high school or university classes were fierce procrastinators. Procrastination may have been one of the ingredients to their success. Despite the belief that it’s usually the lazy people who do it, procrastination has many benefits to how we work. So, the next time you feel guilty about putting off a task or project, it might be beneficial.

In this article, I explain some of the reasons that make procrastinating a pro – and not a con.

Pressure makes diamonds

“Pressure makes diamonds” is a term that commonly refers to people demonstrating their real potential when they’re under a tough challenge or hard deadline. This pressure can prevent you from second-guessing yourself (because you don’t have the luxury of doing so) and help you remain focused.

Some distinguish between active procrastinators and passive procrastinators. Active procrastinators are those who procrastinate because they prefer to work under pressure. These people understand that the challenge and motivation of a tight deadline can help them concentrate. In contrast, passive procrastinators are those who want to delay solving a task because they can’t make a decision.

Fewer distractions when you’re on a deadline

Although not procrastinating can give us time to refine whatever we do at a comfortable pace, less time can help us concentrate and produce better results. It’s the adrenaline that we may face an impending doom if we don’t finish something on time that allows us to cut out distractions.

Pushing ourselves closer to the deadline further ensures we avoid a lot of unnecessary work. For example, in the scenario where you have plenty of time, we may overindulge ourselves in colour coding and organize our materials instead of doing the task. We also won’t quadruple check things to ensure it’s correct. While attention to detail is essential, if you missed a mistake the third time checking it over, it’s not likely you’ll catch it on your fourth.

Procrastination is a brainstorming process for your task

When we’re not working on a task that we should be working on, it’s often still on our minds. We may think about it when we walk or run, discuss it with a friend, or stress approaching it. These moments of what we believe are procrastination is often part of our brainstorming process. This procrastination can increase our creativity because we’re letting the challenge marinate in our minds. Once we start our task, we may come with better ideas than someone who didn’t procrastinate.

Walking can be a great way to improve your brainstorming process (so if you’re going to procrastinate, go for a walk!). Research has found it improves divergent and creative thinking. This is also why the new Apple headquarters has a circular mile made for walking!

You may feel guilty at times for procrastinating, but it can do a lot of good. Procrastination can provide pressure and idea incubation for the best results. Climbing closer to that deadline can also allow you to work more efficiently.