You’re a bit behind? Give yourself the time.
Whether you are the strict, self-motivated, deadline-following type, or the laid back, “I’ll get to it when I can'' type, you without a doubt have suffered from the seemingly inescapable complication of procrastination. This nuisance seems to creep its way back into the lives of us students when we least expect it, overruling our focus and demolishing our determination. Right?
From the very youngest age, the horrors of the lack of time management is engraved into our brains as a certain evil that we should never allow to consume our time. How simple, right? I mean, it’s not like we’re human or anything. It’s not like we never do anything wrong, right?
Again, so wrong.
We are all so utterly human. We are balancing many things: the consistent pressure of educational competition, having to seek involvement in extracurriculars that go above and beyond to appear perfect on paper, upholding an occupation to gain experience in our field of choice, looking flawless online to exemplify our social status and staying up at ungodly hours just to ace a quiz that will have no meaning in a couple of weeks. We do all this while making a steady living and operating entirely on our own for the first time in our lives. Give yourself some credit.
We strive so hard to execute every task we face in our lives perfectly on time, but can never seem to entirely do so. Then, of course, we let it get to us and credit ourselves with all the blame. What an exhausting cycle.
How about we take a more realistic approach here? With the jam-packed, high involvement lives almost all of us maintain, there will always be instances where you will have to put one thing off for the success of something else. That is okay. It’s not you being bad at something, it’s you being human. Procrastination is something we cannot shake, likely because it isn’t meant to be.
Let’s assess this as we put a positive spin on the inevitable and outline the perks to procrastinating.
#1. A longer thinking period. People are happier with results when they manage a delay.
How many times have you asked yourself, “If only I had planned this better. If only I had thought this through,” after the completion of a potentially successful yet irrational task you could have done just a bit differently if you had taken the time. This was likely due to some factor that drove you to complete it early and in a timely fashion. Though this should be a fundamentally good thing, why are you then feeling like the outcome could have been better?
Perhaps you completed it too early, and in too timely of a fashion.
When assigned a task in life, if your go-to response is to jump right into it, you might come to find yourself distraught or stuck on an impulsive decision you imagined to be good in your head at that moment. You will eventually realize you didn’t allow yourself any time to consider any alternatives, any strategy or any sort of process. You just acted. Though this can sometimes render exceptional results, it is rare due to the fluctuations of impulsive decision-making.
When you are actively procrastinating, you are giving yourself more time to question, ponder and plan as you constantly think about beginning the task while refraining from actually doing so. With this time, you open up your mind to the possibilities of other ideas, some which may be even stronger than your first. We often find ourselves unhappy with the result of a project because we didn’t focus enough on the details prior to it.
Essentially, putting something off for a bit actually increases your chances of making a rational decision on the topic.
#2. Efficiency. People are more productive when they manage a delay.
“I do my best work under pressure,” said every procrastinator ever.
Though this is often said as a defensive statement to answer the question of why one hasn't begun any work, that does not mean it is necessarily untrue. As stated previously, procrastination offers you more time to spark improvement. With that also comes the time crunch.
Working under limited hours is considered to be a stressful, often self-inflicted process that many try to avoid. But you cannot permanently avoid time, especially when it catches up to you. As a result, you are forced to work under pressure. This helps you function efficiently, prioritizing and focusing on what is utterly necessary.
Parkinson’s Law states, “Work expands so as to fill the time which is available for its completion.”
When you approach the stage of procrastination where all that relaxation given by so much time turns into stress because now you don’t have enough of it, you are forced to consider what you need to get done, not what you want to get done, and become fixated on it. This is also informally known as being “in the zone”. With this you achieve the focus that you are undeniably incapable of without time constraints.
You have essentially allotted the most necessary attention to the most necessary obligation.
#3. Motivational Creativity. People are more innovative when they manage a delay.
Now what about imaginative freedom?
Yes, it is true, procrastinating allows for self-sufficiency to grow and creativity to flourish.
Don’t believe me? How many times have you stuck to a set outline you were instructed to follow which offered a considerably unexciting procedure? Well, if you participate in procrastinating you are also participating in a rebellion. Far less creative opportunities are allotted from obeying every rule.
You are able to discard boring schedules imposed on you by others as you develop the process of achievement that works best for you. The most successful results are formed through originality and independence. Following your own path is essential.
With this change in effort comes a change in motivation. Individualizing your task makes an otherwise boring chore feel like an exciting duty. This is where creativity then begins to flow.
You are now being forced to think outside of the box. Maybe it’s the way you plan, or the materials you gather, but either way you are having to apply creative and productive solutions to momentary issues.
Here, you are the visionary.
Now don’t get me wrong, this article is not here to advocate procrastination. Of course, it has its repercussions. But that does not mean we can always prohibit it from entering our routines. Procrastination at some point is inevitable, as it is just human nature; it isn’t up to you to dictate time. What is up to you is how you handle it, and to know not to approach it negatively because that will only render negative results.
The best ideas usually take more time to generate, so don’t be afraid to give yourself that time.
And, just maybe you will find fascination within your procrastination.
Trust me I would know. I literally procrastinated this article.
Tessa May (@tessmmay) is a first year Online Cultural Editorial Writer for Rowdy and an Advertising student at the University of Florida. In her free time you can find her at the gym listening to old Taylor Swift, at Opus with her friends, spending mass amounts of money on things she never needs, or re-watching the Vampire Diaries (duh).