Take a break: procrastination found to bolster productivity
While the act of procrastination is viewed by many as something highly unacceptable, a trait of the lazy and easily-bored in society, research shows that it may actually lead to increased productivity.
Professor and procrastination expert Piers Steel, Ph.D, gathered 24 participants and divided them in two groups in an effort to assess whether delaying tasks helped or hindered their completion. Both groups were given a booklet of extremely boring tasks such as counting the amount of times a certain letter appeared in a story or solving absurdly elaborate math problems.
One group was given a break in which they were able to rest, relax by playing with puppies or even use the Internet.
The other group, who did not receive a break, was given the option to continue their task or finish at home. One-third opted to finish at home. However, when the group who spent time relaxing on a break was asked the same question, every single one of them stayed to complete the work.
Why procrastination in the form of small breaks and rest boosts productivity
Dr. Steel says no matter what the issue at hand, this finding suggests that ". . . just a few minutes of rest can help you get it done today instead of putting it off for tomorrow."
In fact, of those who took a break, or procrastinated, 94 percent were more able to absorb information and 74 percent were less discouraged.
The finding tends to seem logical, with people feeling that delaying a project makes them more apt to complete it, often with a refreshed mindset that leaves them more focused. Some relaxation can actually help people become more productive at work as several report feeling burned-out when working long hours. Procrastination is also thought to allow new ideas to develop, the thought being that the pressure of on-the-spot thinking isn't always as effective as thoughts that naturally come to mind over time.
So important is the link between adequate rest and productivity, that many turn to it as a way to recharge their brain and body. While some may consider it procrastination and view it negatively, studies find that power naps that are taken when a person is in need of a boost can actually increase productivity by inducing a slightly meditative state that allows the brain to better process information, reduce stress and start afresh.