Don’t Feel Bad About Procrastination – It Could Actually Be Helpful

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Procrastination has a bad reputation.

But it’s been nearly 20 years since John Perry penned the essay “How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done” in 1996. The essay, which later turned into a book, The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, suggests procrastination is not something to feel bad about—as your friends and boss might have you believe—and in fact could be a beneficial part of your work flow.

Here’s the trick: if you’re pushing away one dreaded task, don’t replace it with mindless Facebook newsfeed scrolling. Replace it with something else that’s productive, but that you aren’t dreading as much.

It’s been proven over and over that multitasking isn’t humanly possible. But by having a few tasks in mind, when your singular focus fades on one, you can shift your full focus to another—effectively procrastinating the first. Which is okay, because most people work really well—better than they think, researchers typically find—under pressure. And by the time we return to the original task, we feel good, because we felt productive doing other things.

And never discount the power of the placebo: artifical deadlines have been proven nearly as effective as real ones, so don’t be afraid to strictly structure your timeline.

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