Why Procrastination Isn't Always The Worst Method
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Why Procrastination Isn't Always The Worst Method

From a master procrastinator

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Why Procrastination Isn't Always The Worst Method

I think every high school student, college student, and even some adults have had a time in their lives where they pushed everything off until the last minute. And yes, it's not the MOST efficient way to go about things. But it's not always the least efficient, if you look at the....small picture.

I'm currently in my procrastination stage, which I hope will wear off soon. It started in the 10th grade, where more work started piling up from my honors and AP classes, and me being a generally good student thought, "Well I'm smart. I know what I'm doing." But that set of 20 math questions ended up taking 20 minutes longer than usual, that English test required an extra hour of studying, and before I knew it I had accumulated 4 hours worth of work by 10 P.M. on a Thursday night. Now of course I got scared straight, and set to work, memorizing formulas, typing furiously, and editing with the same speed. And I once I finished that tremendous amount of work, it was 1 P.M., and I had never felt more exhausted and alive: I did it.

So you see, procrastination is efficient. This strategy can get an incredible amount of work done in a short period of time, with the help of the "Panic monster", activated by deadlines. Tim Urban coined this phrase in his Ted Talk: "Inside the mind of a Master Procrastinator." It only becomes a problem when you aren't scared anymore, when you are confident in your ability to procrastinate. When you consciously think, "Oh, I'm a master procrastinator, I can get this done."

A couple of weeks ago, I had to write 2 500-word essays for a college deadline, which was December 1st. Well, there was other schoolwork I had to do that week, so I thought "Ok, I'll get some done over the weekend." Well Thanksgiving was next week, and we left on Sunday for Florida. So I said, "Nice, I'll get some done on the drive." To spare you an extremely long story of letting down my expectations, I came back home the next Friday, 4 days before the deadline, and still wasn't worried. Because I was confident in my procrastination abilities.

So Sunday night rolled around, and both of my essays were in bad shape. After a good yelling from my mother, panic monster FINALLY kicked in, and I wrote both of them, fairly well I'd say, on Monday.

Procrastination, effective as it is, should only be used as a last-minute last resort, even for the people good at it. You shouldn't rely on it for day-to-day; only when you find yourself needing to prioritize other work you should procrastinate. And as Tim Urban talked about, you can't procrastinate effectively without a deadline. So what about those large tasks, like relationships, and careers, and family and friends? Those take work and planning too, but there's no deadline, no end goal. So, to make it easier on all of us procrastinators, think of the end of your life as a deadline. What should you have done by then? And what can't you save till the last minute? Certainly you can't climb Mount Everest, or find a fulfilling marriage. So get on it now.

Or in a little bit, you know, there's always time...

Nope. Do it now.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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