Heuristic Insights # 26
Most of us think only of the passive form: indecision and inaction that feeds stress and further inaction. This type of procrastination can be attributed to the Current Momentum Bias, wherein humans choose a pleasurable activity now and push less pleasant activities off to their later selves.
On the other hand, active procrastination involves leveraging time pressure to one's advantage. The best active procrastinators make intentional decisions to delay action, keep deadlines in mind, work best under pressure, and–importantly–believe they produce their best work under pressure.
In a research setting, active procrastination yielded superior results over passive in both self-reported and expert-rated creativity. In the real world, people classified as passive procrastinators exhibited better GPA, higher life satisfaction, more purposeful use of time, and higher self-efficacy.
Evidently, for some people, purposeful delay can optimize outcomes for some people–are you one of them?