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Procrastinating for the right reasons may actually be beneficial, but yard work is not one of them

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I mentioned last week how I hate cleaning the garage. This week it’s yard work. I hate yard work.
So, guess what I did last weekend?

I couldn’t get out of it. I tried.

When I got home, the whole bundle of yard work supplies was waiting for me in the van. I mean it was loaded from top to bottom with stuff that I was supposed to use to make the front yard prettier.

I was actually planning to lazy around the whole day and accomplish absolutely nothing. Someone decided to change those plans.

To be honest, the work needed to be done for a while. But I’m a firm believer in putting things off that I dislike doing until – whenever.

And that’s not always a bad trait. Sometimes it comes in handy. Like when I put off getting a new roof. In 2008, Hurricane Ike bought me a new one.

I selectively procrastinate, like many of my readers do. Don’t deny it – you’re among friends.

To try to make myself feel better, I got on the Internet machine in search of information on the beneficial effects of procrastination. You can find anything on this magical machine these days.

There it was: “7 Ways You Can Benefit from Procrastination.” In Psychology Today. I knew I’d be finding some good news. If this prestigious magazine says that there are some benefits, then there must be some.

I clicked on the link and got an error message. Too much traffic for the magazine’s server to handle. “Please try back later.”

Wow, so many people are looking to support their theory that procrastination is beneficial that they are crashing the server.

I clicked on the link again 10 seconds later, and got the same message. It said later, but not how much later. Ten seconds on the Interent is like eternity. I thought they would have fixed the problem by then.
Or, maybe they read their own article and decided to get to it – whenever.

I didn’t give up. On to a New York Times article on Structured Procrastination. It’s a term coined by Stanford University philosopher John Perry, who actually wrote a book about it.

“Admittedly, it’s not a long book (92 quite small pages), but give him credit: He got it done, and only 17 years after he identified the concept,” wrote the NYT.

Talk about practicing what you preach.

The article was not much help. It basically quoted a bunch of academics saying that procrastination is a form of self-deception. I disagree.

The Guardian had some interesting points to make in the headline and subheads of an article it published on this subject on March 3, 2014.

In praise of procrastination: five reasons why it pays to wait:
1-It’s more efficient;
2-It improves decisions;
3-It does your admin.;
4-The work might go away; and
5-It’s fun.

Let’s just stop at the headlines. To me, they tell the whole story. It’s exactly what I wanted to hear.
Just out of curiosity, I searched through some more links, even though I had already found the headlines with which I agreed.

They weren’t all that helpful as they analyzed the topic to death, quoting all kinds of experts who appeared, to me at least, to be taking themselves a little too seriously.

After all, we’re basically just talking about putting off stuff I don’t like doing, like yard work.

That front garden area was beginning to look pretty good. We apparently let it go a little longer than we should have, but after five hours of hard labor, it came back to life. The neighbors no longer have to guess whether this house is abandoned.

“Let’s do the second one on the other side,” said my wife.

“Let’s do it later,” I replied, hoping that The Guardian’s Reason No. 4 would apply in this case.