in Ideas

A Reason to Procrastinate

I have never thought of procrastination positively. Mostly because it has never been presented that way. I’m not sure I completely agree with this New York Times article on why you should procrastinate, but it at least got me thinking differently about it. Here’s Adam Grant:

Our first ideas, after all, are usually our most conventional. My senior thesis in college ended up replicating a bunch of existing ideas instead of introducing new ones. When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns. Nearly a century ago, the psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that people had a better memory for incomplete tasks than for complete ones. When we finish a project, we file it away. But when it’s in limbo, it stays active in our minds.

That’s true, but it also clutters the mind. I can’t properly operate with a mind that’s too cluttered. This next part is the piece I’ll probably take with me. To let bigger projects linger a little bit (not a lot) so that I’m able to connect other ideas and thoughts to them to strengthen their foundation.

What I discovered was that in every creative project, there are moments that require thinking more laterally and, yes, more slowly. My natural need to finish early was a way of shutting down complicating thoughts that sent me whirling in new directions. I was avoiding the pain of divergent thinking — but I was also missing out on its rewards.

The other thing I discovered while reading this article is that this site is brilliant.

[New York Times]