Most people only ask, “How can I stop procrastinating?” You probably won’t hear a lot of people talking about the rewards of procrastination because the habit comes with such a negative stigma. For the most part, it is a pretty bad habit when you consider the impacts outside of someone’s personal reward. I would think if we looked a little closer at the rewards we can understand how, why, and when to break the habit and move strategically toward our personal definition of success.
You probably won’t hear a lot of people talking about the rewards of procrastination because the habit comes with such a negative stigma. For the most part, it is a pretty bad habit when you consider the impacts outside of someone’s personal reward. I would think if we looked a little closer at the rewards we can understand how, why, and when to break the habit and move strategically toward our personal definition of success.
This isn’t the exhaustive list so I would love to know your thoughts on the matter too.
Reward: It is a way to conserve energy.
Seriously though. You don’t have to be lazy to take advantage of this reward of procrastination. It could be as simple as not loading the dishwasher after a long day at work. If you’re tired, putting off a task will definitely allow you to conserve some energy. And, it may be energy that you can use to complete a more prioritized task.
Reward: It relieves tension or anxiety from performing or doing something.
Have you ever seen the movie where the guests have arrived for the beautiful wedding but the bride is in her suite all dressed up and refuses to leave the room? That nervousness of walking down the aisle is likely enough to make her want to pause.
What about the one where the baseball team is moments from the championship and the pitcher knows he has to make just one more good pitch? He holds the ball staring intently at the catcher’s mitt but gets frozen in that moment. There are anxious moments all around the stadium. Yeah that one…
Both of those instances illustrate the subtle reward of procrastination. There is an outcome being delayed because of the anxiety attached to the moment. As long as nothing happens, I can relax but the moment we are in motion I know the anxiety or tension will start to build again.
Reward: If you put off a boring task there is a chance someone else may do it.
So yeah… the dishes; the laundry; the quarterly reports; loading the documents to the computer.
Super easy to find examples of things we don’t want to do. The honest truth is, I think we all have those moments where we put something off hoping that someone else will do it. It’s not even a deceitful thing, we just feel so unattached to the task that we really hope it isn’t us that has to do it.
Reward: Putting off some tasks may delay you being judged on the result or performance.
It has been said that most of us will tie our self-worth (in some way) to our ability to contribute. If you need to feel the praise and congratulations but you aren’t certain you will, procrastinating is a definite way to delay the possible reproach.
In this instance, the reward is the ability to maintain your self-worth.
Reward: If you delay a decision long enough, you may have better information to decide with.
Have you ever made a decision in life and then said, “Well if I had known that I would have…”
I think we all have. If the decision is great enough, we will intentionally put off deciding in an effort to get more information. Why make a bad decision when you could have waited and made a good one?
This could also be as practical as delaying the decision to buy a certain item (like the patio furniture I’m procrastinating on now) with the hopes that it will go on sale.
Reward: Some difficult decisions will resolve themselves.
A friend recently told me about an issue he was having on his job with another guy. At first, he thought he was just being hesitant about confronting the guy, but later realized he just really didn’t want to chance the conversation going the wrong way. He was procrastinating approaching his coworker to avoid the anxiety of the possible negative outcomes (remember that reward). No matter what, the tension and anxiety kept returning with each encounter with the other gentleman. My friend told me that the other guy eventually got fired and he never had to say a word to him.
He procrastinated long enough for the situation to resolve itself; kinda.
Reward: Procrastination allows you to prioritize tasks.
Prioritization isn’t considered procrastination by most of us because we are attributing the system of priority with something good. If you have ever uttered anything like, “Let’s do that later” or “What can I get done right now” then you have taken advantage of how finding priority rewards procrastination.
So how do you stop procrastinating?
Of course, these are just a few examples of the rewards of procrastination. The unfortunate thing is that procrastination is normally discussed with a negative connotation and often implies laziness. Author Rory Vaden wrote a book entitled “Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time” in which he discusses how to manage your procrastination and intently make it work for you. Not only that, he says that it is a secret that a lot of successful people are aware of and regularly employ. Definitely worth the read.
I hope this helps bring a little insight to why you may be procrastinating on some things in your life. Maybe with that insight you can be a little more intentional and manage the influence you have on the people and events you encounter daily. Be honest with yourself so you can project that honesty into the world around you.
If you’re interested, I’m writing an ebook on building better habits and breaking habits that don’t serve you. Check it out here to stay informed on it’s release.
Talk to you soon,