Here’s a snippet of my life. As I found myself in front of my computer, not typing anything, or not programming anything, I would usually get up, and do some dishes, or laundry, or I would go out for a walk. When I came back, I would feel refreshed, my head was clear, and I would start typing like a crazy lady.
The person I was sharing my life with back then, was so focused on generating money that whenever I got up to do the dishes, or do simple house chores in the apartment, he would react by saying those things were not important. I shouldn’t waste my time doing them, and I should go back to work instead, be productive, and make some money.
Those remarks started to make me feel guilty when I was taking a break from my work, unproductive me! It made me feel like I was a lazy girl. I even felt bad doing the dishes… I thought I was such a procrastinator, and I was!
But here’s the thing. Moderate procrastinators are more creative. Adam Grant’s did an experiment where people were asked to generate business ideas. Some of them were asked to do the task right away, and others had to procrastinate for either 5 or 10 minutes by playing a game. It turned out that the people who procrastinated had the most creative ideas.
In order for moderate procrastination to work, you need to know what to do first, to understand the task at hand. The incubating period is what makes you more creative. Indeed, procrastination is deadly for productivity, but it gives life to creativity.
So next time someone tells you you’re procrastinating, or you think you are doing the deed, remember that you’re not procrastinating, you are exercising your creativity.
Do you moderately procrastinate, and does that make you feel guilty?