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Unpacking the ideas and trends shaping Asia’s future
 
Procrastinating is usually the last thing we want to be doing in the face of a looming deadline—but are there hidden benefits to doing things slowly? Let’s take a Deep Dive. 

🙅‍♂️ We often think of procrastination as a sign of laziness, meaning we feel guilty or stressed out whenever we put off a project. But experts say otherwise, claiming it’s how we regulate our mood. In order to keep feeling good, we avoid tasks that bring undesirable feelings, such as insecurity or incompetence, until we have to face it.

⚡ Intentionally delaying tasks until the last minute can actually give us the energy boost we need to do them. This rush of adrenaline is caused by the fear of what will happen if we don’t meet our deadlines.  

💡 Procrastination can also lead to greater creativity. Research found that it encourages divergent thinking, a thought process or method that’s used to stimulate creative ideas by exploring many possible lines of thinking or solutions. 
"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."
According to research, one out of five people are chronic procrastinators.

28% An experiment found that ideas from procrastinators were 28 percent more creative than ideas from participants who were asked to start brainstorming right away.

3pm Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, once said she spends her mornings procrastinating before she forces herself to focus at around 3pm.
How long did Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci spend painting the Mona Lisa until his death in 1519?

A. 10 years
B. 16 years
C. 25 years

Scroll to the bottom of the email for the answer.
The Covid-19 pandemic may be causing an increase in what’s called “bedtime procrastination”, where people put off going to sleep to engage in leisure time. 

Chinese social media users have revised the term to “revenge bedtime procrastination”, which describes people who refuse to sleep early on a workday in order to regain some sense of control or freedom over their time in the late-night hours. 
👀 There are benefits to procrastination—we just don’t see them. This includes making us work faster, forcing us to focus better and encouraging perfectionists to lower their expectations.

🐵 Procrastination isn’t optional for some. According to Ted speaker Tim Urban, some procrastinators live with what he calls an “instant gratification monkey” in their minds that is bent on maximising the pleasure of the current moment and ignoring what really needs to be done.  

😳 There’s nothing shameful about being a procrastinator. But there are ways to break the cycle of procrastination—and that includes being kinder to yourself.

The opposite of procrastination isn’t always better. For pre-crastinators, the desire to complete tasks quickly for the sake of getting things done sooner rather than later could result in lower-quality work.
Blogger Tim Urban, who runs the website Wait But Why, describes what goes on in the mind of a procrastinator, and urges us to think about why we procrastinate before it’s too late. 
Passive procrastination
Passive procrastinators typically find it difficult to self-regulate themselves to complete tasks. And because they fail to start work early, they become bogged down by feelings of anxiety and stress, which in turn perpetuates their inaction.

According to research, passive procrastinators aren’t usually in control of their decisions, attention or behaviour. They tend to also consider themselves less creative and often report a lower sense of self-worth. 


Active procrastination
Active procrastinators often delay completing their tasks because they believe that they work or perform better under pressure. They consciously choose to procrastinate, and seldom lose focus when they do.

Unlike passive procrastinators, they are generally able to meet their deadlines and are less likely to be satisfied if they complete their tasks ahead of time.  
Victor Hugo
The author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was known for procrastinating when writing his famous novel. In the end, he came up with a plan: to get naked and lock his clothes away so that he wouldn’t be able to go outside.
Bradley Dowding-Young
The principal CEO of wellness startup Silentmode, Bradley Dowding-Young encourages us to remember to take it slow for the sake of our future productivity. One of his products is the Breathonics app, which teaches people the importance of taking a breather, literally.
National Procrastination Week falls within the first two weeks of March—but in the spirit of the holiday, the specific dates change every year (and in that same spirit, we sent this email out a week too late). During the week, people are encouraged to leave their tasks for later and give themselves a mental and emotional break. 
That’s it for this issue. Have a productive week!

This issue of the Deep Dive was written by Chong Seow Wei, with design and illustration by Francesca Gamboa.

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The answer to the quiz is B (16 years).
© 2021 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved. All material is © TatlerAsia.com.
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