Are you holding off reading this article? Perhaps you are about to finish writing your last chapter or make a phone call, or you are about to finish your shopping but it seemed you are just running out of time all the time.
Sociologists define procrastination as a prolonged task and an inability to adapt, which undoubtedly is something that disturbs almost all of us.
One study indicated that more than 70 per cent of university students postpone the performance of their homework. Hence procrastination gets a bad reputation at the end of the day. Postponing necessary routine responsibilities will make your work pile up and always harm your comfort. But when working strategically with certain creative tasks, a little procrastination can actually be beneficial. So pay the electric bill and do the washing dishes now, you might want to put off that writing job for a day or two.
On other hand, procrastination is usually seen as a problem of time management, but if you take it from another angle, you will notice — if you agree with me — that it is more about managing emotions.
Many people deal with negative feelings surrounding a task or responsibility by simply avoiding the task, at least temporarily.
Also, you might have experienced this if you put off a difficult conversation and justified it by saying: I can’t handle this now! Overall whether it is a failure to manage time or emotions, from this point of view procrastination is still portrayed as something negative.
In fact, you can suffer from not procrastinating at least a little in many situations and doing things too quickly may reflect its own form of emotional management of maladaptation.
Don’t you see that sometimes, people rush to perform tasks because they are impatient? In other words, they want to get rid of something, even at the risk of making mistakes and ultimately putting more effort into correcting them.
Nevertheless, the greatest cost of advanced procrastination and vice versa, the greatest benefit of moderate procrastination — is likely to come in creativity. Where scientists have found that putting off tasks that require innovation and research in order to think about them can lead to better performance, not to mention that we must bear in mind that the greatest danger of procrastination is that the task will become permanently incomplete.
So, we must realize that while strategic episodic procrastination can be beneficial, chronic procrastination will be a problem. To find out if you actually have it, ask yourself if the way you delay tasks makes you feel out of control or unhappy? Hence, remember that postponing creative tasks is beneficial because it allows you to interrogate the ideas in your mind. It certainly will not work if you spend a long period of fatal procrastination. For instance, the reckless use of social media and the Internet not only wastes procrastination time but also fuels the habit.
Also, let me mention one more thing to consider: you may be procrastinating on a certain task over and over again. In such a case, procrastination may not actually be your problem - you may hate this task simply because it makes you unhappy!
In the end, your best option may be to avoid procrastination by avoiding the task altogether. You may be able to pay someone to wash your car for you. You will lose some money, but the time you save will make you happier if you use it wisely. So your procrastination, however unable to adapt, may actually give you hints about how you can be happier...it’s up to you!
Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and a writer.