POSSIBLE POWERFUL POSITIVES IN PROCRASTINATING!
Does that string of words create a sigh of relief? Or a frown of disapproval? Or maybe, a question: just what could this psychologist be thinking?
First, it’s not my idea — more to come on that. And second, I hear a quite major sigh of relief from myself! Because? Well, because I DO PROCRASTINATE. And historically, I worry about it. Even now, with some fascinating research to share, I’m still concerned about my own behavior.
Wharton professor, Dr. Adam Grant‘s new book, ORIGINALS – HOW NON-CONFORMISTS MOVE THE WORLD…is my source. Or perhaps my reprieve — psychologically, that is. Reading his book is causing me to re-examine, and perhaps re-evaluate, my own behavior… It might be of use to you as well.
Grant describes a doctoral student, Jihae Shin who proposed “that when you put off a a task, you buy yourself time to engage in divergent thinking rather than foreclosing on one particular idea.” Naturally, this hypothesis was tested AND explored AND investigated. I leave you to the book for all the details from research and history and personal stories; but here’s the best “take away” concept to examine in your own behavior:
“Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity.”
The belief, with some pretty hefty supporting evidence, is that procrastinating, or perhaps, simply taking a chunk of time away from the completion of a task, has a positive impact on thinking. You engage in divergent thinking, and that process can result in a more satisfying outcome. There is, indeed, a delay, but the final product is better — more effective, more creative. Consider some unfinished task, project, job –something you’ve walked away from because it wasn’t coming together — a report, a paper, a big project at work, a presentation — and the reality that when you came back to work on it, either hours or perhaps days later, it had new energy, juice, direction — and the outcome was far better than you hoped for….