Why Procrastination Is Good For Creativity Backed By Research

Are you trying to stop yourself from procrastinating, over and over again? Stop trying! It turns out, moderate procrastination can be a good thing.

The Effect Of Procrastination On Creativity

Research shows that procrastinating can be good for your creativity. In a study by Jihae Shin (now a professor at the University of Wisconsin) participants were asked to come up with new business ideas. Group 1 was asked to do the task right away, while groups 2 and 3 were distracted for 5 and 10 minutes before they could start. Their ideas were rated on creativity.
The result showed that group 2, the moderate procrastinators, came up with 28% more creative ideas than the other groups.

Could it be that the following famous creations arose not despite, but because of procrastination?

Martin Luther King kept rewriting his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech up until the last minute. He didn’t even write the bulk of the speech until late in the night.

Picture: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Appreciation Blog

• It took Leonardo da Vinci 16 years to finish the Mona Lisa. He worked on it (on and off) for a few years, stopped and completed it an estimated 10 years later.

Picture: Victor Grigas for Wikipedia

Pixar Animation Studio’s co-founder Ed Catmull pursued the dream of what would later become ‘Toy Story’ for around 20 years.

Picture: www.awn.com

Why Procrastination Is Good For Creativity

It seems that these original thinkers have a way of working that follows a ‘quick to start, slow to finish’ rhythm. They take the time to tweak their idea, and to let it rest. During this period creativity has a chance to manifest itself.

Do you want to learn more about this? Go and read Adam Grant’s book ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World‘ or watch his TED talk.