The Art of Procrastination: How Putting Things Off Can Actually Lead to Success


We’ve all been there. The looming deadline, the mountain of work piling up, and yet, we find ourselves scrolling mindlessly through social media or tackling menial tasks that could easily be put off. It’s called procrastination, and it’s something that most people see as a negative trait. But what if I told you that procrastination can actually be a valuable tool in achieving success? In this article, we will explore the art of procrastination and how it can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and even better decision-making.

The Science Behind Procrastination

Procrastination is often seen as a character flaw or a lack of self-control, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Recent research suggests that procrastination is a complex psychological behavior influenced by various factors.

1. Activation Energy

Activation energy is the amount of energy required to initiate a particular task. Some tasks, especially those that are challenging or unfamiliar, have a high activation energy. Procrastination, therefore, can be seen as a way of reducing this activation energy by delaying the task until it becomes more manageable.

2. Fear of Failure

Another key factor behind procrastination is a fear of failure. When faced with a daunting task, our brains often conjure up worst-case scenarios, which can paralyze us with fear. By procrastinating, we temporarily escape the possibility of failure, which provides a sense of relief. However, this relief is short-lived and can ultimately lead to increased stress and poor performance.

3. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is often praised as a desirable trait, but it can also be a major driver of procrastination. The fear of not being able to meet high standards or expectations can be overwhelming, leading individuals to put off tasks until they feel ready. However, this cycle of delaying tasks in pursuit of perfectionism can become counterproductive and hinder progress.

The Benefits of Procrastination

While procrastination often gets a bad rap, there are actually several benefits to embracing this seemingly counterintuitive behavior.

1. Increased Productivity

It may sound contradictory, but taking breaks and delaying tasks can actually increase productivity. When we give ourselves time to recharge and relax, our minds become more focused and efficient when we finally tackle the task at hand. This can lead to higher quality work and better overall performance.

2. Enhanced Creativity

Procrastination can also be a breeding ground for creativity. When we allow our minds to wander and engage in unrelated activities, we make unexpected connections and foster new ideas. This is often referred to as the “incubation period,” where our subconscious mind continues to work on the problem even when we’re not actively thinking about it.

3. Better Decision-Making

When we procrastinate, we give ourselves time to gather more information and consider different options. This can lead to more informed and thoughtful decision-making. Rushing into a decision without giving it proper consideration can often result in costly mistakes or missed opportunities.

Making Procrastination Work for You

While procrastination can have its benefits, it’s important to strike a balance and ensure that it doesn’t become a hindrance to progress. Here are some strategies to make procrastination work to your advantage:

1. Prioritize and Break Down Tasks

One of the main reasons we procrastinate is because tasks feel overwhelming. By breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks, we reduce the activation energy required to get started. Prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency to stay organized and focused.

2. Set Realistic Deadlines

Setting realistic deadlines can help combat procrastination. Rather than leaving things to the last minute, give yourself ample time to complete the task. This not only reduces stress but also allows for more thoughtful and thorough work.

3. Embrace Productive Procrastination

Not all forms of procrastination are created equal. Engaging in activities that provide a mental break, such as physical exercise or creative pursuits, can actually recharge your mind and increase productivity in the long run. Avoid mindless distractions that offer no value and instead focus on activities that promote personal growth.


Procrastination may seem counterintuitive, but when embraced and managed effectively, it can be a powerful tool for success. By understanding the science behind procrastination and applying strategies to make it work in your favor, you can harness its benefits: increased productivity, enhanced creativity, and better decision-making. So, the next time you find yourself putting off a task, don’t be too hard on yourself. Embrace the art of procrastination and watch how it can lead you to greater achievements.