Procrastination--let's admit it --is the universal human vice. No matter how efficient we are, we all have a tendency to put things off until the last minute. According to researchers, procrastination has more than quadrupled over the past 30 years, with more than 26% of people admitting that they are chronic procrastinators.

There's good news, however, in these statistics, because the act of procrastinating can actually have more positive benefits than we think.

1. You have invested in things you care about

Often, when we procrastinate, we make the decision to partake in an activity that genuinely brings us joy. Turns out that, many times, putting off something you have an obligation to complete allows you to discover what you truly love.

Those who become musicians have no problem putting off their math homework to compose new songs; those who end up scientists would rather complete another circuit before finishing their next essay. Figure out what you do when you're killing time. It might be a great indicator of what you should actually be doing with your life.

2. You build relationships with others

Many of us waste time by hanging out with friends or distracting ourselves with coworkers and other company we enjoy. Although it may seem unproductive in the moment, in reality, we are building relationships that matter.

Time spent with those we care about always aids in forging stronger, long-lasting bonds. These could end being the very relationships that will matter for far longer than any assignment ever could.

3. You become more well-rounded

How many times have you browsed a website you would never normally visit in an effort to distract yourself from a task at hand? When we are looking for distractions, we are more open to new ideas and modes of thinking--in short, we're more creative.

In browsing these different channels, we will undoubtedly discover a piece of news with which we otherwise would not keep up, or a topic we would not typically pursue. Broadening our horizons can only help us become better, more interesting people.

4. You finish small tasks first

When we push back a larger, looming project, we usually justify our actions by completing miniscule things we have to do along the way. Even though the tasks are small and appear to have no larger effect, they do add up--often to much bigger things.

Usually, we end up actually getting more things done than we think--even if it was in an effort to avoid finishing a more difficult job. Who knew procrastinating was so effective?

5. You are more efficient

Finally, when you ultimately begin tackling the project which you have severely pushed back, you will be incredibly focused. When you leave only one hour for your mind to get the gears turning, you brain has no time to pause.

It will work at top speed--because if it doesn't, you'll miss your deadline. Assuming the work gets completed on time, it's almost as if you were actually more efficient by procrastinating, after all, doesn't it?

Published on: Oct 16, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.