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AMiable Solution #269: Procrastination



We’ve all done it. In fact, some of us, ahem, are doing it now. Procrastinating. Waiting until the deadline is right up our noses to take action and get a job done.

We know we should feel badly about it, but did you know that, according to some brilliant people, procrastination actually inspires better decisions?

Frank Partnoy, author of Wait: The Art and Science of Delay, told Smithsonian magazine reporter Megan Gambino, in her July 2012 article, that most folks would benefit greatly by taking their time to make decisions and take action. Responding to questions and problems instantaneously opens the door to mistakes and regrets. He asserts that we should first assess how long we have to make a decision and then wait until the last possible moment to do so.

“If you look at recent studies, managing delay is an important tool for human beings,” Partnoy says in the article. “People are more successful and happier when they manage delay. Procrastination is just a universal state of being for humans. We will always have more things to do than we can possibly do, so we will always be imposing some sort of unwarranted delay on some tasks. The question is not whether we are procrastinating; it is whether we are procrastinating well.”

Procrastinating well doesn’t mean you simply put off doing your task and do nothing at all. Procrastinating well means giving yourself time to think about your response while simultaneously accomplishing other tasks and goals.

Steve McClatchy, author of Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress and Lead by Example agrees that procrastination has its merits. McClatchy believes (“The Five Hidden Benefits of Procrastination,” May 12, 2015), that procrastination not only helps us stay focused on the task when we do turn our attention to it, but procrastination also helps us get the task done quicker because we have less time to do it.

Of course, you can’t, and shouldn’t, procrastinate all decisions. Some tasks do take priority over others, and some decisions need to be made immediately to keep progress moving forward, but for some of the less spontaneous, more multitasking among us, active procrastination sounds good to us.


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