There’s a good chance whenever you see one or more of your work colleagues on Facebook or Reddit you immediately assume they either haven’t got much work to do or they’re slacking off, it’s this kind of backwards thinking that has effectively created a corporate work environment in non-corporate work environments (design studios, game development agencies, internet startups). Procrastination is healthy, it allows us to break out of the tunnel we sometimes dig ourselves into from concentrating too hard to solve a problem (like why an element is behaving different in Firefox and not Chrome) or because we’re stressed out due to all kinds of different variables.
This is an open admission, I procrastinate a lot. I wouldn’t be able to put a figure on how much I procrastinate per day or week, but the very fact this blog post was drafted inbetween working on two projects further drives the point. Even though I am writing this article, I’m way ahead on both projects. I know how long it takes to do most things, how long I have before a project is due and this blog post amongst my other favourite procrastination activities like browsing Hacker News or Github repositories make me a better worker.
Not only am I much happier, I’m way more productive than I would be if I were being forced to only look at websites related to my job and undertake activities related to my job. A developer (or to generalise any worker) who doesn’t procrastinate is a bad worker in my opinion. If you focus only on one thing for too long you make bad decisions and don’t take the time to reflect on your decisions and think twice.
There are numerous studies that have found procrastination makes you more productive in the end and of course it’s not always the case, but if you know what you have to do and have other people relying on you (like being a part of a small team) you should know how much you can procrastinate and when to do work.
Any employer or team leader who believes procrastination is the devil and results in less worker output needs to seriously re-evaluate their stance on things because they most likely procrastinate, everyone does.