When you hear the word “procrastination,” you probably think of the hundreds of things you SHOULD be doing instead of what you are doing right now. In fact, procrastination has become a way to self-deprecate and joke about our shortcomings. Just ask the Etsy shop owners who make money selling procrastination merchandise like this mug and poster.
But what if I told you that procrastination isn’t always bad?
When Procrastination Helps
In the book Originals, Adam Grant writes, “Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource of creativity.”
Here are a few reasons Grant makes that declaration:
- Many great artists in history did not create their “hits” until they were well into their careers. By creating volumes of work, they increased their chances of uncovering a piece of work that was popular with the masses.
- Artists who create large volumes of work pursue thousands of ideas, but by procrastinating in the creation of all of those ideas they were able to separate the good ideas from the bad.
- Those great artists tested out different works of art to see what was popular and what tanked, then they revised their strategies and products to better align with what their customers wanted.
- Entrepreneurs who have a new or original idea may benefit from procrastination by letting someone else be first-to-market. Let the other person test the market viability (and profitability), work out the kinks and determine consumer needs that are still unmet.
DISCLAIMER: Not all procrastination is good. If you leave this article and triple your Facebook stalking time, you have missed the point. Procrastination is destructive when your time is spent on low-value tasks instead of activities that propel your career forward.
How to Procrastinate Like a Pro
- Generate tons of ideas.
- Allow time for the ideas to marinate.
- Separate good ideas from bad, and pursue the good ones first.
- Test your ideas out on your target market.
- Use feedback to improve your ideas.
- Do not be afraid to be second to market with an original idea.
Before reading the book, I did a few of these actions without realizing how beneficial it was. I tend to keep lists and notebooks full of ideas, and when one seems timely and viable I follow through with it. By doing that, I was able to stand out as a creative person who was full of initiative.
Related: Everyone is creative. Read these ways anyone can unleash and grow their creativity at work.
You can be that creative, ambitious person at work, too!
- Make a habit of writing down any ideas that come to you – problems brought up by peers or customers, creative solutions in other industries that could work in yours, redundant work that can be streamlined, etc. I use the Notes app on my phone, to-do lists and notebooks.
- Once a week, review your ideas and choose the few that have the most potential. Bounce those ideas of peers and customers to gauge interest and find potential obstacles.
- After an idea has gained interest and proved to be actionable, GET IT DONE. Show some initiative.
Remember, if your idea is small and easy to implement, do not procrastinate – just get it done. The strategic procrastination we are talking about here is for those big solutions, large masterpieces and original ideas.
Be sure to check out the book Originals – it is fascinating to hear about the process and similarities of the world’s most original creators. And if you enjoyed these book-based insights, sign up for our free resource library where you can find resources for your career!
*This article contains an affiliate link for the book, Originals! As a bookworm, I only recommend books I really enjoyed reading. I hope you enjoy them, too!