Please, procrastinate.

This post is part of my project to publish a blog post daily for 30 days. If you’d like to follow along, follow my publication: The Daily Blog.

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I’ve struggled with procrastination my whole life. At least that’s what I tell myself now. That’s what people say about me now. “Oh Ryan, you’re such a procrastinator.” But, when I was young, I was called lazy. I even referred to myself as lazy.

I recently had a realisation that I think all so-called ‘procrastinators’ should have. One that has changed the way I look at my work and the way I do it, my behaviours and my output. As it turns out, I’m not a procrastinator, I’m just intuitively smarter and more productive than non-procrastinators. Let me explain.

In 1955 The Economist published an article written by Cyril Northcote Parkinson about his experience and observations of the British public service.

These observations included that the public service had a tendency to grow, year on year, not in response to there being more and more work to be done, but because of the availability to resources to grow it.

He also noted that bureaucrats liked to create non-essential work for one another and expand their teams so they would be in the company of more allies than enemies. But I digress.

Parkinson’s observations have come to be known as Parkinson’s Law, which over time and within the productivity realm looks and sounds like this:

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Essentially, this means that demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource. The reverse is never true. No matter which way you look at it or say it, this law gives incredible power to procrastinators.

Are we procrastinators lazy? Or, as I now like to believe, do we just intuitively know that our efforts to complete a task well before its deadline will be in vain? That my efforts will be much greater and the time spent on a task will be much longer if I start a task now, than if I start later. And, that no matter when I start, the task will inevitably get done, but that by starting it later I’m doing it more efficiently.

So, I encourage you. Please, procrastinate. At least just sometimes. If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.


3 Comments »

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Now every time I need to do a project that I know has the capacity to be drawn out and perfected 1000 times, I do it at the end of the day. Something that may have taken me 5 hours suddenly takes me 3!

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  2. Ah the pros and cons of procrastination. I recently came across a concept that purported more innovative thinking can be engaged when procrastination occurs. Those organized people who commence a task and chunk it down to doable bite sized pieces with clear timelines and structures usually work with information they already know. Then we have the others who procrastinate about the task; once eventually commencing, they feel a huge Adrenalin burst drawing on different brain functionality and more innovative ideas and concepts are brought to life. So, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge procrastination as the bad guy, as it appears it has a few things going for it after all.

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