Whether you do it or not, it’s easy to admit that procrastination brings out an entirely different side of a person. While some people can get tenser and others calmer, there’s one trait everyone has to have in order to get things done in time: creativity.
The word “procrastination” is a term universally associated with college students. With plenty of assignments and tons of recreational activities, it’s easy for students to prioritize socialization or other interests over schoolwork. More specifically in this time of self-isolation, it’s quite simple to close a conference call browser and immediately open Twitter.
So, how do you avoid procrastination? My answer: you don’t.
Procrastination is the breeder of both originality and innovation. It makes you assess the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish, and gives you no time to accidentally hone in on just one part of the task.
Even if you’re just lazy, waiting until the last minute can boost ambition and energy levels. When on a time crunch, getting the best work done possible means finding the quickest, most effective solutions to your problems.
In a New York Times article, a professor from the University of Philadelphia, Adam Grant, explained an experiment conducted by one of his students to prove the productivity of procrastination. The student gave two groups of people the task of coming up with original business ideas. While one group had to present their ideas immediately, the other was given five minutes beforehand to play Minesweeper or Solitaire. When judged, procrastinators were deemed 28% more creative.
“It was only when they first learned about the task and then put it off that they considered more novel ideas. It turned out that procrastination encouraged divergent thinking,” Grant said.
As a procrastinator myself, it’s hard to imagine ever changing my ways. However, believe it or not, some people actually like to get tasks done almost immediately after they’re given the assignment. Psychologists have deemed this “pre-crastination.”
If you believe that you are a pre-crastinator and want to change your ways, there is a method to practice the skill of procrastination. One of the best techniques is to treat your completed work as a first draft. Come back to it closer to the deadline, and rework it with your new mindset and ideas.
If you are already a procrastinator but you need to get better at the craft, try looking over your tasks the instant they’re assigned. This will give you time to sleep on ideas, so that you’re better equipped when it comes to that last-minute struggle.
Procrastination not only pushes you creatively, but also stimulates you mentally to make something just as good, if not better, than something done way in advance.
Gabrielle Martinez is a 19-year-old mass communication freshman from Gonzales, Louisiana.