In Defense of Procrastination

I have a lot of projects to juggle and no matter what I might try, it always seems like I don’t have enough time to do everything. I tend to procrastinate, waiting until the last minute to get things done, and today I thought of a justification.

Projects that have a deadline are the kind of projects that will get done no matter what. If I have a paper due on Tuesday, you can be sure that I’ll spend all night Monday working on it if I haven’t finished it by then. Projects without a deadline or projects that aren’t due for several weeks are the projects that tend to slip through the cracks. These are the big ones though: Class projects, theses, dissertations. These are things that can’t get done in a single night. Contrary to my undergraduate beliefs, an all-nighter does not provide infinite time to finish a project. Sometimes these long-term projects need to be put higher up in the priority queue in order to make progress, even if it means putting off that paper that’s due next Tuesday until Monday night.

I justify procrastination of smaller tasks in the following way: If I were to spend time working on a smaller task during the normal work day on Friday, the small task might get done, but no progress is made on the larger project. The deadlines stay well-cushioned and we all relax over the weekend. Monday may be spent working on the big project, but I can assure you that if the deadline is a long way off, I won’t be working late. Too much of this and the big project never gets done. If instead I spend Friday working on the big project, I move that project forward and can then worry about the small project that’s due on Tuesday all day Monday. If all goes well, it’s finished on schedule and there’s no harm done to my schedule. If it ends up taking a little longer, at least I have all night to work on it.

The more I write about this, the more I think I’m just trying to put something else off…

Updated: February 10, 2015 — 9:04 am

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