Bad and Good Procrastination – Yes, There Is A Good Version Of Procrastination

In this article, we will explain the difference between bad procrastination and good procrastination. Read the article to identify your procrastination pattern, and then work on increasing your productivity right away!

Some say, procrastination is always bad. But according to researchers, this is not the case all the time. In matter of fact, there are two versions of procrastination: Bad Procrastination and Good Procrastination.

Here in this article, I’ll try to explain both by giving some examples from my own experiences.


Bad Procrastination

Throughout high school and later in college, I abided persistently to the same procrastination patterns. But only during last year while working from home, I started to see how lack of discipline and my commitment to procrastination is hurting me more than I can take anymore. So, I decided to act on this bad habit.

But before diving into the details, I would like to give some details about my procrastination cycle.

My Procrastination Style Since High School

When it comes to tasks, my approach in college was literally like this: I would make a comprehensive plan which only required me to study 2 to 4 hours on the weekend. Easy-peasy! 

However, I would NEVER  commit to this plan. Thus, I would need to come up with another plan. So, one month prior to the exam I would put a new plan which also I would not follow up with. Then, I would come up with another plan, as you can guess, and not follow up with it too.

Technically, I was the crisis maker type of procrastinator. I wasn’t following any of my plans because I knew deep inside that I have the ability to finish everything at the last minute and still do well.

And yes I never failed. I knew how to study smartly, what points to focus on, and how to grasp the basic points that -in case that type of question comes- I can figure out the rest of the equation by myself in the middle of the exam.

My Procrastination Style As An MBA Student

Later while taking MBA courses, in the first two semesters I repeated the same planning-then-not-following pattern. And to be honest it was working.

Although it started to be more intense at this point, I dropped the whole planning thing and pleasantly accepted a brand new method. I said to myself that I will only study two nights, maybe one, maybe a few hours prior to the exam, depending on the situation.

But again, the problem is that I WAS AN MBA STUDENT! I mean, there needed to be some sense of urgency or responsibility.

Are you an incorrigible procrastinator too? Well, not anymore. Because I am sure you’ve read our articles that will help you to stop procrastinating. Didn’t you read our articles yet? Shame on you. But it is okay. You can check them from the links below:

Why Do You Procrastinate? –  Don’t Procrastinate To Read This One

How To Stop Procrastinating – 7 Ways To Avoid Procrastination

The 2 Minute Rule – Stop Procrastinating in 2 Minutes

Must-Read Books on Procrastination

How To Prevent Bad Procrastination

Types Of Procrastinators

My Procrastination Style As An Employee

Not to bore you any longer, I will jump to the last March. Where I started seeing the negative impacts. Although I have always graduated with good grades, and I was doing pretty well at my job, I couldn’t actually feel proud or honor my progress or achievements.

And this is understandable. Because everything I did was in a way to survive the next exam, meeting, or project. Have I devoted my time and effort to those tasks, I would have felt completely different. 

The Result Of Bad Procrastination Habit

As you see from my cycle of procrastination, I survived everything. Especially when it comes to tasks that have deadlines.

But also let’s consider all the tasks that don’t have a deadline. Where there is no reason for you to ever start or finish anything.

For example, my procrastination habit prevented me from doing many things I love like; exercising regularly, using my free time to practice painting, eating healthy, and visiting new cities.

This is when the procrastination that gives you instant gratification turns into bad procrastination that steals your life awayaffects your life.

We all have these sorts of things that don’t involve anyone holding us accountable for, and when there is no deadline or someone to question our final result or progress, we can keep putting them off, forever.

The problem though is that this type of procrastination derives you from self-satisfaction, lowers your self-esteem, delays your progress, and leads you to unhappiness and a lot of regrets. Even when you achieve something, satisfaction comes with a hint of emptiness and guilt.

Simply put, instead of holding control over your life, you turn to become a spectator. Satisfying your in-moment needs in sacrifice to all the dreams and goals that will make you proud, fulfilled, and contribute to your growth. 

Good Procrastination 

This might seem absurd, but YES, procrastination can be good. However, you need to understand the difference and the balance between bad and good procrastination -which I will talk about in a bit- so you don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your bad procrastination is a way to unleash your creativity.

Let’s imagine you don’t procrastinate at all. At work they assign you a task, you go on and do it right away.

For example, You have a project which has a specific deadline. And you arrange yourself to meet it on time without burning your brain in the last few days. Seems perfect, right?

Well, not really. Finishing things on time means you are simply done, you filed them away and moved on. But what if there was a space for improvement that your very disciplined self missed?

Why Do We Need To Procrastinate Sometimes?

Our brains need room to do some unconscious mind work. It is from that space that new ideas and creative solutions are born. If you delay doing things right away – but not leave them to the last minute- then you give yourself a chance to explore new approaches.

Of course, it is easy to fall into the never-ending cycle of exploring. Which turns to bad procrastination. For example, if I kept planning this article in my head, it would never happen. I mean, ideas die if you don’t write them down.

Examples Of Good Procrastination

So, it is essential to find the balance that will turn the disadvantage of bad procrastination to your advantage. Let me give you some other examples:

Example 1

As a product manager, I had to provide a very well-written road map for big tasks. Something simple and clean that people from different departments can read and understand straight away. And this wasn’t easy.

In the beginning, I had spent tons of time on each task at once. I was trying to choose the right words, put the right structure, and add the necessary screenshots. And then when my manager would see the task, he still couldn’t approve it 100%.

I needed to come up with another solution. And I decided to give a shot to procrastination.

What I started to do is write it down with a little bit of optimization, kind of keeping it raw. Leave it for a few hours, get busy with other things and then get back to it. And the magic worked. Every time I go back to check the task my reaction was like “this is trash, why did I write this”. Sometimes I was giving even better reactions when I see something missing I didn’t see or consider in the beginning.

If I kept my head stuck in it right from the beginning I would barely figure it out, hardly maintain my patience then forward it and be ready for tons of advice and notes. But giving myself the time to step away, helped me do the optimization that made my work more coherent.

Example 2

Let’s say you are looking to open a website. You need to find a name for it. If you go and choose the first name that comes to your head you will probably regret it later. Especially when you work on it more and a new stream of ideas starts developing.

But if you take time and put the name aside a bit, while keep preparing for other needed things for this website, you will figure out the name at some point and you will be more satisfied with your choice. 

The Conclusion

Procrastination stems from us losing our purpose and passion and being continuously overwhelmed. The best technique you can take is to stop procrastinating right now. Well, at least any form of bad procrastination you are doing.

That being said, also recognizing that some tasks can take some procrastination is vital for you to unleash your creativity. Just always remember to not be dragged into the trap of perfectionism. 

That was all. In this article, I’ve tried to explain bad procrastination and good procrastination. If you want to understand the root causes of procrastination and learn some techniques to stop procrastination, don’t forget to check our related articles!

If you have any other suggestions to overcome procrastination, just share with us your experiences to support others in this adventure! And don’t forget to share your comments about this article below!

Candic Britt

CEO & Founder of How To Motivate Me

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