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Late Start: On the Merits of Procrastination

Kamryn Washington

Even in the Greek and Roman era, it was believed that the wisest leaders sat around, not doing anything unless completely necessary! 



I am the master of procrastination. 

As students, we often are told to “not wait until the last minute to get started!!!” But the reality is that procrastination can be the best way to get things done. In fact, procrastination is an art, and only the most talented and determined people will conquer it. But luckily for you, as the master, I can teach you my ways…

I read an article in Fast Company magazine that extolled the merits of procrastination. The article referenced Frank Partnoy, the author of Wait, who believes that everyone should embrace procrastination.  Even in the Greek and Roman era, it was believed that the wisest leaders sat around, not doing anything unless completely necessary! 

When you procrastinate, you wait until the last possible moment to get started on something. In your brain, this means that it is crucial for you to finish the assignment, making you more determined to complete it. 

Just think about it. If you have an English project due tomorrow and you haven’t started it yet, you will automatically put in your best effort trying to finish it. So in a way, procrastination makes you more productive! And according to Partnoy, procrastination can lead to greater success and happiness!

Personally, I think my best work comes when I procrastinate. 

I remember one time I had a fourth grade project where we had to present a summary of a book we had read to the class. There weren’t any guidelines or restrictions on how it had to be done, giving us creative freedom. The night before it was due, I decided to start the project. I ended up getting my whole family involved with the project. We used toys such as American Girl dolls, other stuffed animals, and toy accessories to act out each scene while my family and I said the dialogue. When it was completed, I had created an iMovie that was so good and unique that my teacher shared it with all of his colleagues! 

Many times when people warn us that procrastination is a bad habit, it’s most likely because they think we are procrastinating without a clear purpose, or because we just don’t want to start.  But if you procrastinate because you need time to generate your ideas or stir your creativity pot, then that’s a good thing! So ask yourself, am I not starting because I am afraid to fail? Or will it be better to wait until the last minute to improve the overall quality of the assignment?






And yes, while procrastinating can allow you to create great work, it can also take a turn for the worst. Procrastination is like a ferris wheel. Sometimes you unfortunately get stuck at the top and are just dangling above everyone below you, failing to get off the ride. This is when your procrastination doesn’t work out. Or, you successfully make it to the bottom and get to leave the ride, excited after a great experience. It’s kind of a fifty-fifty. 

But, to be a good procrastinator you need to know when it is a good time to procrastinate. I think that you should only procrastinate when you have more than a week before something needs to be turned it. This way, you can spend some time thinking about how you are going to complete the assignment. Also, this allows you to have one less task to worry about, enabling you to work stress free!

Procrastination doesn’t have to be all bad. Putting things off will stir your creative juices and bring out the best in what you can do!

As the master procrastinator, I hope you are inspired to join me in the wonderful world of positive procrastination! After all, starting at 10:39pm the night before can be a recipe for success. Just make sure not to let the sandman get you before you add the final ingredients. 
 
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