Procrastination & Creativity

Luke Wiese
Jul 3 · 3 min read

It’s fair to say a majority of people would agree procrastination is an inherently bad thing: Waiting till the final two weeks to finish a project you were given months to complete, putting off tasks that so easily could be completed if you just sat down and gave them a bit of focus, and ignoring obligations until the absolute last possible moment is never a positive way to go about life.

With over 80% of college students being plagued with procrastination, you have to stop and wonder how dramatically that can affect their academic performance.

And to put it bluntly, procrastinating with tasks that have clear deadlines is plain stupid, but is it actually that black and white with goals and ambitions within your own life?

Or can there be certain advantages to procrastinating that are often overlooked by the “regular” (or not so regular, according to the above statistic) and punctual person?

What if procrastination was actually a subtle sign of creativity?

Have you ever stopped to consider that being slow to finish, in any aspect of life, could actually positively serve you?

According to Adam Grant, an author who’s researched procrastination extensively, studies indicate that if individuals are given time to relax and put off a certain business task, and then finish it after, they’ll be scored more highly on a creative scale than their counterparts who were told to begin immediately.

This was only the case though, when a person was told of the task they were to finish before they ever started and then “wasted time” procrastinating and putting off the work they were tasked to complete.

This makes perfect sense if you really consider the whole situation too.

Our first ideas, are usually our most conventional.

When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. On the other hand, when we finish a project, we just file it away and forget it to move onto the next task. But when the idea’s in limbo, it stays active in our minds as we work it over, and analyze the task from different perspectives.

Is this a theory that’s just limited to menial tasks though? Or do accomplishments of greater merit require top tier punctuality?

You might be surprised.

Procrastination can even help with incredible achievements.

Mozart is one of the most famous procrastinators of all time. He wrote the overture for his famous opera Don Giovanni the night before it premiered while he was probably hungover. During the premiere of the opera, the ink on the music sheet had still not dried and it was preformed without any rehearsal.

Steve Jobs was reportedly an avid procrastinator as well, along with Leonardo Da Vinci.

It sounds like these guys are onto something right?

So if you’re a procrastinator, the next time you’re wallowing in the dark playground of guilt, pity and self loathing over your failure to begin a task, just remind yourself that the right kind of procrastination might make you more creative. It’s all a personal thing, and every individual is different.

Find out what level of productivity works for you and makes you the most creative (especially when writing!) and capitalize on your strengths. There’s no reason to beat yourself up for procrastinating.

Thanks so much for reading, and maybe give yourself just a little more time to scroll through Medium! It just might help with whatever work you’ve been ignoring.

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Luke Wiese

Written by

Business owner and marketing drop out. Writing to share what I’ve learned along the way. This isn’t just recycled knowledge!

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +479K people. Follow to join our community.