You’ve probably been told that procrastination is a bad habit to get into, and some of the time, it is. Procrastination often makes people less productive and wastes a lot of time, and can even worsen the situation you’re already in. However, it can also serve a very useful purpose, both in your life and in your career, when you use it to weigh your options and make more informed, carefully considered decisions.
The Definition of Procrastination
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “procrastination” is defined as, “to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” Pretty much everyone procrastinates at some time in their lives, usually on doing something you do not want to do. Sometimes this is harmless, sometimes this is bad and other times it can actually be a very good idea.
The Differences Between Good and Bad Procrastination
Good procrastination allows a person to put off making a decision or doing a task until they have all the information needed to take the next step successfully. People who procrastinate at work are often the more creative and innovative employees: people who are more productive right away tend to go with safer, more conventional options, while people who put off doing things frequently come up with better ideas as they mull their options over. In order for procrastination to be good, it also has to be productive – you have to spend your time brainstorming rather than turning your brain off. It also helps if you are well aware that you work best under pressure and are motivated by approaching deadlines so you can plan accordingly. Note that for this to be effective, you also have to have a good sense of how long it will take you to complete what you need to do.
Putting off an inevitable bad thing because you don’t want to deal with it is a good example of bad procrastination. Oftentimes, leaving an issue unsaid or unaddressed because it makes you uncomfortable or you fear the results will make the matter even worse, such as failing to fire an underperforming, toxic employee on your team before they make your office environment unbearable. Procrastination is only really good if there is a reason for it and it’s part of your strategy to reach your final goal, not just because you are dragging your feet.
How Procrastination Can Benefit Your Career
By now, it should start becoming clear what benefits procrastinating has for your career. Taking your time to decide what to do means you will more than likely end up in a career that is truly the right fit for you. Procrastinating on a project often gives you more time to come up with unique and interesting ideas that will improve your standing with your company and fast track you to promotions. Ultimately, people who procrastinate in the right way can be much more likely to succeed in business because they take the time to come up with the best ideas.
That being said, be careful not to procrastinate when it comes to jumping on presented opportunities once you have decided what to do, as often enough in the business world they will be snatched up by someone else. Know of course that sometimes in the business world, especially if you are in management, decisions must be made and made quickly – that is a part of leadership. This means procrastination often works better as a tactic when you are in a more creative role rather than a role that is relied upon. But if you are not on some kind of serious deadline, taking the time to weigh your options and make the best decision will be beneficial to both your company and to your career.
At the end of the day, procrastination can have some tangible benefits, but must also be used in moderation and for the right reasons. It’s frequently a better idea to sit back and weigh your options; learn the pros and cons and the process before you make a decision or begin work on a task you do not fully understand. This is why the right amount of procrastination can actually be very good for your career.
Jim Raychrudhury is a freelance writer and passionate blogger who likes writing articles that cover career and education related topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs. When he is not writing, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.