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HomeVideoCan Procrastination Be a Good Thing?

Can Procrastination Be a Good Thing?

New research suggests that some people need to procrastinate in order to get things done. Could this be a good or bad thing?

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It seems like we’re always being told that procrastination is bad. Taking a closer look at why people procrastinate, though, it’s more complicated than it might seem. While some psychologists argue that it is a bad behavior that needs to be addressed, others are less convinced. There’s new research that suggests that some people need to procrastinate in order to get things done. So, can procrastination actually be helpful?

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Many researchers would agree that procrastination can actually be helpful. Distractions provide the mind a break during which we can creatively think through problems. Some psychologists even believe that some people need to procrastinate because it’s how they get their best work done. These people are referred to as deadline-driven. They tend to perform their best when the deadline is imminent.

What is chronic procrastination?

Chronic procrastination is when someone consistently puts off completing tasks. One in five people are thought to fall into this category. Many psychologists suggest that chronic procrastination can lead to unhealthy levels of stress and feelings of constant shame. While few experts disagree that procrastination can lead to stress, many have recently suggested that this stress is not a bad thing. Some people need to experience that stress in order to prompt them into action.

Does everyone procrastinate?

Not everyone procrastinates, but it would seem that most people do. One study found that 80 to 95% of college students self-reported as having procrastinated before. It is acknowledged that there are different levels of procrastination, however. There is the chronic type, and one in five people tend to fall in the category. Many people also occasionally procrastinate.

Why do we procrastinate?

There is actually a biological reason as to why we procrastinate. The two parts of our brains involved are the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. The former is responsible for planning and decision making, while the latter contains the brain’s pleasure center. The limbic system is more developed than the prefrontal cortex, so it often wins when we are faced with an unpleasant task, making humans naturally inclined to procrastinate.


The Science Behind Procrastination

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Procrastination As A Virtue For Creativity, Why It’s False

Why Procrastination is Good for You

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KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio, and web media. Funding for Above the Noise is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Silver Giving Foundation, Stuart Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.