I never understood the students that would complete homework assignments days or even weeks early. Like dude, what’s the rush? There’s plenty of time to get it done. No sense in booking it to completion. Just chill. At least that has always been my attitude.
Like, if it ain’t due yet, no sense even thinking about it, yet alone actually working on it. It’ll get done...eventually. Just not now….later. Like when it’s due. And not anytime before that.
I mean thinking back to school projects and papers I had to write, when the teacher assigned us a “due date”, to me that meant “this is when to START it.”
Due dates were nothing but a note for me to “do this the night before this date” as opposed to a “work on this project periodically for the next few weeks and have it done by this date.”
I would normally pull out at least a B or A, and not to brag, but oftentimes scoring higher grades than my peers who would work on it for weeks on end. I mean I wasn’t the brightest at school, but I wasn’t a total flunk either. I did just enough to get by, and look at me, I graduated with a degree! Woo!
I say that not to pat myself on the back but to show you that it’s possible to procrastinate your way through school, through life. Waiting ‘til the last minute gets you places.
(Though to be fair, I’m probably not much of a role model, so always take my advice with a grain of salt ) ;p
As a procrastin8r, I may wait until the last minute, but damnit, shit gets done!
Seriously, I think something’s to be said about waiting ‘til the last minute to do things. Procrastination has its benefits, for sure.
Of course, no one really likes to talk about that because they try to brainwash us all into being obedient little corporate slaves, who work nonstop, instead of working just enough to get shit done. But I digress.
Anyway, today, I want to talk about how waiting ‘til the last minute is advantageous to do, contrary to popular belief. And if you want to wait to read this whole article later, I get you!
Without further ado, let’s dive...right into it!
When time is running out, it increases your productivity.
It’s the wee hours of the morning, the night before a big project is due and what do you feel? Pressure.
Pressure to shell it out. Pressure to get it done. Pressure to complete the task not just a little bit, but complete it in its entirety.
I mean why is the pressure there?
Look, the stakes are high. You waited ‘til the last minute and now it’s all or nothing. You either get it done or you don’t.
If you get it done, congratulations! You procrastinated your way to victory.
If you don’t get it done, well, you’re just gonna have to face whatever sort of consequences come about for not completing it on time (which to be fair, may be worth facing and may be worth deciding to turn it in late anyway).
But let’s say you decide you do want to actually get it done ON TIME.
I mean, certainly, you could try to get as much as you can done (not fully complete), but knowing the fact you have to make it look like this is something you’ve been working on periodically over the past couple weeks, you’ll feel the pressure to do a good darn job, a finished job.
Pressure is a form of motivation. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush. Like “speedrunning” in a video game, you’re challenging your skills to not only “complete the level” but also do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
There’s little room for error, since messing up sets you back that much further and since you’re doing it last minute, there’s not really much time to go back and fix shit. You have to get it and you have to get it right in one go. Although even if you do fuck up a bit, you’ll not let it stop you, but we’ll cover that in a bit.
You have the pressure to get it right the first time. There’s no first or second draft. It’s just FINAL draft, baby!
We skip all the foreplay and jump straight to the final version, by waiting until last minute. In a way, you become inspired to really nail it and not dilly dally or puts around. You did all the procrastinating you could (up until the last minute) and it’s time to make it or break it.
Use the pressure you feel to your advantage. Let it inspire you to perform well and race to get it done in the nick of time.
Besides, you should have enough energy by now after relaxing and putting it off for so long. It’s your time to shine.
Our brains work more efficiently when we’re set to believe that a resource is limited. In this case, time being quite a limited resource, you’ll be efficient as ever, striving to accomplish what needs to be done within the minimal time frame you’ve allowed yourself to have.
You’ll practice the art of thriftiness, spending what little time you do have on the most efficient and forward-moving tasks possible.
Waiting ‘til the last minute forces you to focus
If the clock is ticking, and time is running out to get things done, you can’t be distracted by anything. You’ve got to be fully focused on the task at hand. You ain’t got time to spare!
When you go into a task with the mindset that “oh this really isn’t due for a while”, you make it easy for yourself to get distracted and do something completely off-task. You’ll wind up binge-watching videos on YouTube, playing a few rounds on Overwatch, or maybe just browsing reddit for hours. After all, you figure, there’s absolutely no pressure to actually do it now
However, if you go in knowing this is your absolute LAST CHANCE to save yourself from failing the project or turning it in on time for that matter, you’ll be more likely to focus on getting it done than allowing any sort of distraction to catch your attention.
You won’t do any “side quests” or chores or other things that don’t hold much priority on your to-do list
When you procrastinate and put something off for a while, and then it’s finally time to actually sit on down and do it, you sort of get “in the zone” because you’ll be pretty “psyched up” for it. You tell yourself “it’s go time” and there’s no holding back.
You’ll avoid veering off course of your goal, once you actually get down to it that is. Sure, it might take ya a long ass while to get to that point (like err, last minute before the thing’s due), but once you hit that sweet spot, you’ll be tackling your goal full focus.
You’ll put aside the excuses and actually do the thing you said you were gonna do “eventually”. “Eventually” is here and it’s go time baby! So make it happen.
As the clock ticks down, moments before your deadline, you kick your problem-solving into high gear and will manage to think of creative solutions (or content) that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.
See, because over the course of putting off the thing you have a deadline for, you’re not just completely oblivious to the fact that the due date is coming up. You are, in fact, very, very much aware of when it must be done.
And this is the absolute key to building that creative energy. Creative energy builds up over time and the more time you wait, the more creative energy you’ll have stored to unleash.
You’ll be thinking to yourself “Okay that’s gotta get done then and there.” Then go take a nap or some shit. You’ll put it off even further, continually telling yourself, once again, something along the lines of “That due date is coming up”, as you binge-watch an entire season or two of your favorite show.
And by the time that due date comes around, you’ll be ready to discharge a huge amount of pent up creative energy.
The whole time you’ve been saying to yourself “not yet, not yet”, your creativity has been slowly growing in power and when it’s finally time to actually do what needs to be done, your creativity will be at an all time high, ready to help you push beyond your limits.
You’ll embrace the mental attitude of:
“Alright, this has to get done. Now. Let’s come up with something quick!
You’ll release the valve of creative energy and whip up something fancy (a writing or whatever sort of project you’re attempting to complete last minute)
See, when you try to force yourself to be creative, it rarely, if ever works that way. You have to let it accumulate. And the best way to do that is just relax and let it come.
Creativity is not something you chase after. It’s something that simply comes to you. By putting things off, you are allowing your creative energy to build over time.
Creative mode isn’t just a quick on/off switch. It’s more like a dial that slowly tunes up. By waiting until last minute, you give your brain time to crank that dial all the way up to eleven for some creative loud noise.
Ya ain’t gotta be perfect
Perfectionism. It’s something we try to achieve, especially when we’re working on a project over a long period of time. We want to get it...juuuust right. Perfectly balanced. Flawless.
But wait ‘til last minute?
Now ya ain’t got time to be perfect! Now it’s a matter of getting it done at all in the first place.
You remove the (quite unnecessary need) to be perfect and instead focus on just getting it done, despite whatever sort of flaws pop up.
This allows you to actually do the task, not “edit” the task. Allow me to explain.
Oftentimes, we halt our own progress by letting the “editor” take charge. Instead of just writing, for example, we edit. We make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. We make sure to have the perfect grammar structure and the perfect paragraph phrasing. What this does is eliminate the creative “flow” of your writing or otherwise.
Because we don’t just edit our writing, we edit everything we do. In other words, we try to make things look perfect before presenting them.
This ideal for perfectionism is what causes “writer’s block”. Instead of moving forward, we block our own progress by trying to achieve some sort of high standard.
It’s letting the editor take over before the writer even finishes writing. Write first THEN edit. Do first THEN perfect.
Aiming to “get it right” makes the whole process rigidity and more complicated than it needs to be.
Just get it done. Make your standard shit. Because then if it is shit, well you hit the mark and anything better, well, then it’s better.
If your standard is perfect, then anything less than that is gonna be frowned upon. And let’s face it, ya ain’t perfect.
Waiting until last minute allows you to spend all your time producing the content and project and not wasting time ironing out the nitty gritty details.
It’s more important to have a solid foundation than beautiful intricate details. After all, what good is a cherry on top without the ice cream sundae?
If you wait ‘til the last minute, you can focus on building that strong foundation instead of putting on extra toppings and trying to make everything look perfect and delicious.
The best part of waiting ‘til last minute
Hey, even if you totally fuck up this project, at least it got done in time and you put in a good effort.
And unlike someone who poured hours and hours into the thing over the course of weeks, you only spent one night. One single night. That’s it.
And all things considered, you did a fantabulous damn job!
Imagine what you could do if you ever decided to go back and improve upon what you managed to create in that one all-nighter.
Imagine if you spent just as much time on the project as someone who diligently allocated time to it in their schedule periodically. Why, you’d make something totally kick ass!
I mean, if you really think about what you can accomplish “last minute” before the due date, it shows what you’re truly capable of accomplishing.
You have the capability to achieve what you want. You just...choose to wait ‘til last minute. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a wonderful thing.
You can achieve what you want is the bottom line. You just have to understand what motivates you. That last minute kick?
Maybe you can mind-fuck yourself and tell yourself that no matter what it is you want to achieve, the due date is “soon”.
You’ll gain the motivation and adrenaline rush you need to do it and make it happen right then and there. After all, if it was due tomorrow, you know you’d totally rev up some awesome sauce.
Pretend like it’s the last minute, the last chance you’ll get to do that thing you’ve been putting off and see what you can accomplish -- whether that’s losing weight, starting a business, whatever.
You may surprise yourself and realize you’ve had it in you the whole time.
You just needed to procrastinate...with purpose!