Procrastination – a possible leeway into creativity

Look at this video:

What do you think about the person who made it? Do you think they had too much time on their hands?

Or what if it was the opposite?

What if this person was putting off some other things they were supposed to be doing: homework, housework, bills, groceries (ahem, I need to do that), or working out?

I think that I’m more creative when I’m putting off something. I typically start reading articles and write about what’s interesting about that article to me.

There’s research that apparently backs up my claim, as illustrated by the Zeigarnik Effect. It argues that unfinished tasks challenge your memory more than finished tasks do. Here’s a good quote from Adam Grants, the author of Originals:

“When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns.”

It kind of reminds me of how in Brooklyn Nine Nine, detective Jake Peralta is (always) doing something completely unrelated to work when he has an ~epiphany~ and SOLVES THE CASE.

But there’s also a great article on Psychology Today that isn’t so sure. It argues more that purposeful delay – not the same thing as procrastination – is what really makes you creative. If you’re working too closely to a deadline, if you’re too frantic – then that’s where procrastination is just as unproductive.

So in some ways, it’s still not entirely conclusive. But I like to reassure myself that when I should really be cleaning the house, I’m just basking in my own ~creative juices~ instead.

Published by Liesl Hammer

Copywriter. B2B, B2C. I've written in the travel, ecommerce, health, and marketing niches.

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