The Value Of Procrastination?

Kerry Dupont just pointed this Paul Graham essay out to me:

The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators. So could it be that procrastination isn’t always bad?

Most people who write about procrastination write about how to cure it. But this is, strictly speaking, impossible. There are an infinite number of things you could be doing. No matter what you work on, you’re not working on everything else. So the question is not how to avoid procrastination, but how to procrastinate well.

I feel so much better…but is she trying to tell me something?

6 thoughts on “The Value Of Procrastination?”

  1. As I understand it, that’s one of the causes of procrastination, at least in the GTD world. There’s so much to do that there’s never time to take a break or vacation, so why not take that break now? Of course, the way your brain works, that means you crank out the odd essay or two while putting off yard work.

  2. The German General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord famously said —

    “I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!” (my emphasis)

    Food for thought.

  3. It may be symptom rather than cause involved here. People who are very talented tend not to be challenged as strongly during their formative years, and are thus more likely to develop bad habits, like procrastination.

    Thus, the more talented somebody is, the more likely they are to be a procrastinator. However, this doesn’t mean that being a procrastinator will improve your talent level, or your output :)

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