Procrastination can boost your Creativity

Stop feeling guilty about distractions in between work, that's how you cultivate your best ideas.

Hello creators,

How often do you beat yourself up for not being “pro-active”, not hustling quite enough, and how often do you drown in a guilt trip for choosing to watch a YT video when in fact you should be working?

All human beings have a tendency to wander off, our brain always wants to do the easier things. Simply put, procrastination is the brain’s way of delaying and stalling difficult things and strenuous things. But is procrastination always as bad as we make it out to be?

Leonardo da Vinci started painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 and did not finish it till 1519. 16 years! That’s a lot of time for procrastination.

No, I don’t suggest that you should follow in the footsteps of da Vinci but it can be helpful to know and be mindful about how you can optimize your procrastination to boost your creativity.

Procrastination provides you an incubation period

Often people get so engaged in the issue at task that they don’t allow themselves to explore the problem at hand from newer perspectives. This leads to mediocre and linear thinking and thus poor outcome. But when you procrastinate, your mind wanders off, this temporarily breaks your focus and helps you disengage thus giving you an opportunity to come up with better ideas.

Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. 

Agatha Christie

In 2012, the psychologist Benjamin Baird conducted an experiment to test this. The participants showed a 40% increase in creativity in the creativity of their ideas after performing an undemanding task.

But is all procrastination good?

There are two types of procrastination: Active and Passive.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Passive procrastinators are procrastinators in the traditional sense. They are paralyzed by their indecision to act and fail to complete tasks on time. In contrast, active procrastinators are a "positive" type of procrastinator. They prefer to work under pressure, and they make deliberate decisions to procrastinate.

You must avoid passive procrastination, stop delaying clerical and regular tasks like checking emails, returning calls, working out, etc. This won’t help you in any way but rather compound and become a problem if not taken care of every day.

Embrace active procrastination. If you have an assignment due, start working on it but take breaks, wander, explore different topics. Don’t finish your presentations in one go. Incubate all of your creative ideas.

Great originals are great procrastinations, but they don’t skip planning altogether. They procrastinate strategically, making gradual progress by testing and refining different possibilities.

Adam Grant, The Originals

Creative work is not supposed to be mechanical, you produce your best work when you feel free, brew your authentic ideas, take time, and don’t be too hard on yourself.


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