Benefits of Procrastination


Many of us are familiar with the experience of putting off a task which we find dull, burdensome, or unappealing. Sometimes, we’re just not in the mood for it, or we’re feeling tired or burned out. Either way, we experience this feeling of extreme reluctance which stops us entirely from carrying out a necessary task. We think of how tedious the task is, and of the other things which we could be doing instead. When we give in to the temptation of postponing our duties, we are procrastinating.

Procrastination is generally viewed as unfavorable. When we put off things that we should be doing, we are shifting duties and burdens off ourselves for our future selves to handle. Procrastination is a short term solution. It only takes “now” into account, and doesn’t consider the additional duties that might come along in the future and increase the burden on our future selves.

“[In procrastination] the burden for completing the task [is] shifted to some future self that will have to pay the price for the inaction. We believe that tomorrow will be different. We believe that we will be different tomorrow; but in doing so, we prioritize our current mood over the consequences of our inaction for our future self.”

-Sirois and Pychyl


The results of a 2017 study show a positive correlation between procrastination and feelings of anxiety, worry, or frustration. Another finding shows that procrastinators tend to have larger amygdalae compared to non-procrastinators. The amygdala is associated with controlling emotions such as fear and anxiety.


The Journal of Social Psychology has categorized the different kinds of procrastination:

  • Passive Procrastinators - those who unintentionally delay a task due to their inability to complete them in time

  • Active Procrastinators - those who deliberately put off tasks because they favor working under pressure

Researchers believe that there are benefits to the second type of procrastinators. According to them, active procrastinators are not restricted by preexisting schedules. This allows them to be more flexible in dealing with new changes to their plans or even new demands to their tasks, such that they are able to complete their duties with greater ease.


Contrary to popular belief, there are multiple benefits of procrastination.

A Sign of Creativity

Adam Grant, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, asserts that the people who temporarily put off tasks (moderate procrastination) typically approach problems and tasks with more creativity and originality, compared to those who immediately work on tasks.

“Procrastination is a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue when it comes to creativity.”

According to Grant, this association is mostly due to the fact that when we moderately procrastinate, we do not stop thinking of the task entirely. Instead, it “runs in the background”, allowing us more time to come up with different solutions which tend to be more innovative in nature. This principle is further supported by a 2017 study (on 853 undergraduates at Chinese universities) which suggested a link between active procrastination and creative ideation.

“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood,” and that mood is “last-minute panic.”

The next few benefits are intuitive and self explanatory.

Improved Efficiency

As we rush to complete tasks at the last minute, we are pressured to maximize our work performance to compensate for the reduced time allowance.

Increased Focus

The urgency of last minute-ness directs our focus to the task at hand. Honing it into one specific action makes us less prone to distractions.

Other Things Seem Easier

As you procrastinate on a task, you will find yourself more willing to perform other duties as long as you get to avoid doing the one you’re procrastinating on.

While these benefits have shown an advantageous side to procrastination, we ought to keep in mind that procrastination should only be done in moderation. After all, procrastination is still a vice to productivity, and the correlation between procrastination and feelings of anxiety remains.


Recent Posts