Procrastination:: Why it may Not be such a Bad Thing

No matter how hard I try to deny it, and how hard I try to break out of it, I am notorious for being a procrastinator. I leave just about everything to the last minute, whether that be starting dinner, packing for vacation, writing an essay, or even cleaning my room five minutes before someone is coming over, when I was waiting around all day doing nothing. I don’t know why I procrastinate, it’s not something I want to do, and I know that once I get started doing anything it won’t take half as long as I anticipate, but I just can’t seem to stop it.

However I always used to see this as a bad thing, like something that caused me to perform poorly when I had the time and potential to do it right, but recently I’ve come to realize that perhaps procrastination isn’t really all that bad. Now I’m not saying we should all wait until the absolute last minute to shove all of our clothes under our bed, that’s just silly, but perhaps some people, like I believe myself to be, perform better under pressure.

Earlier this year I wrote an essay, and seeing as it was my first of the school year, I decided to set aside a ton of time, and really put a lot of effort into writing it. The only problem was, that because I had set so much time for myself, it gave me all that extra time to over analyze every single thing that I was writing. At the end of the essay, I thought I had done such a good job because I had been so specific, and really thought over every word, only to have received a 60% on it. Not the way I was hoping to start the year, that’s for sure.

After talking it over with my teacher I realized that I had taken out so much important stuff out of fear that it was unimportant or sounded like I was rambling, that I was pretty much left with a bunch of words that didn’t quite start, or finish any arguments. Low and behold for the next essay I set less time for myself, wrote faster, edited less (due to lack of time), and what happened? Well I got a better mark than before. Because I wasn’t overthinking my essay and wrote the first thing that came to my head, and was like okay I have 2 hours before I go to bed, let’s just get this done, I ended up writing a better essay.

Likewise, when I was packing for a three day trip to New York this summer, I didn’t start packing until 3 hours before the departure. I knew that by doing this my suite case would be much less organized, and I would be rushed, but because I didn’t give myself such a long time  to think about everything that I might  need, I only packed what I thought of first, which were the basics. That being said I still packed way more than I needed, but not as much as I would have if I had has the time to think about it.

Now I’m not saying that you should always leave everything to the last minute, that’s just not healthy, but what I’m trying to get across it that sometimes leaving things off until you have to do them, is beneficial. When I leave homework, or assignments to the last minute, I have already come up with enough ideas for it that I know exactly what I’m going to say, it’s just that I don’t put it into stone before I have to. I try to do all the pre requisites, like research, and readings for an assignment far in advance, so that I have the luxury of being able to not start the physical aspect of the assignment until the night before it’s due, but still being prepared enough to do so effectively. And when I pack for vacation,  I have a rough idea of what I want to bring, but don’t actually pack it until I leave.

Often times the first things that come to our minds, whether it be what to wear, write, say, or pack, are the best, and when we procrastinate, it stops us from second guessing our judgements. I think that everything is okay in moderation, including procrastination. There’s a difference between putting things off, and avoiding them, and choosing to do things under pressure. One is being completely unprepared and lazy which often leads to failures, and one is giving yourself just enough time to finish something, but still being semi prepared to tackle said task, which in my experience, often gives the best results. So maybe we ought to re-evaluate our perception on those who procrastinate, because like me, while it may seem like I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, only I know how prepared or unprepared I am to tackle a task. Perhaps procrastination is more of a strategy, than a flaw.


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