We all know waiting until the last minute to start an important project or assignment breeds stress and puts the quality of your work at risk. It seems that the colleagues of ours who are living their best lives are the very same ones who know how to plan and get their work done ahead of time.

With 80 percent of college students and 20 percent of adults plagued by the curse that is procrastination, it only makes sense to avoid this detrimental habit at all costs ... unless you're Adam Grant.

Grant--author, Wharton School of Business professor, and organizational psychologist--argues that procrastination can actually be good for you. While others have made New Year's resolutions to better manage their time, Grant once made a resolution to procrastinate more.

While "procrastination is a vice for productivity, I've learned--against my natural inclinations--that it's a virtue for creativity," details Grant.

Grant spent time delaying creative tasks, resisting the temptation to work and waiting instead. He also started writing sentences he said felt good, and then stopped in the middle of his work to walk away and return to it later.

Procrastinating in ways like these taught Grant that he was avoiding the pain and rewards of divergent thinking: "What I discovered was that in every creative project, there are moments that require thinking more laterally and, yes, more slowly," he explains. "My natural need to finish early was a way of shutting down complicating thoughts that sent me whirling in new directions."

Creativity can happen not in spite of procrastination, but because of it--and just like Grant, entrepreneur Jeremie Bacon is familiar with the positives of procrastination.

As CEO of Imagineer Technology Group, Bacon actively procrastinates to help his business. He believes that starting fast and finishing slow has helped him succeed as an executive, serial entrepreneur, and hobbyist. 

Wondering where to start when it comes to procrastinating? Try abiding by three habits Bacon regularly practices:

Jump around. 

Keep your mind alert and jump from project to project. What may seem like "procrastinating" is actually just pausing and leaving time for more ideas to come to mind.

Keep the middle open. 

Think about the beginning state and end state of a project or idea--everything in the middle is up for grabs. Consider setting a goal without holding to an unattainable timeframe, and the rest will fall into place. 

Don't be idle. 

When Bacon is idle, nothing good happens. Navigating multiple projects keeps his mind fresh. Continue to push forward on varying tasks, while leaving some to stew. 

Published on: Oct 21, 2019
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