Procrastination. Teachers advise against it, parents yell at us for it, overachievers scoff at the thought of it. Well, to all of the naysayers out there, I love to procrastinate. It’s where I get most of my most creative ideas.
Let me explain how I got to this point; where I chose to write an op-ed on writing an op-ed an hour before the op-ed’s due.
It’s February 1st or so and my teacher assigns me an essay due on the 22nd. No biggie. I’ve still got time.
February 14, my teacher tells the class that we can start setting up conferences with him to make sure that our essay is going on the right track. I realize that I haven’t even fully chosen a topic for my essay yet, let alone start it.
It’s February 21, the night before the essay due and what am I doing? Not working on the essay that’s for damn sure. Instead, I feel like it’s a great time to rewatch an episode of “Jane the Virgin” on Netflix. The episode ends. I finally decide that I should be the “good student” that my parents think I am and finally work on this godforsaken essay that has been assigned to me from the gates of hell. I grab my computer, ready to start working but wait, I look to the corner of my Netflix page and there it is, the 20 second countdown until the next episode automatically starts playing! I begin to rethink my entire life.
I thought to myself, do you really need to start your essay now? I mean, you’ve still got time, it’s only 9 o’clock. 19, 18, 17. And don’t you already have an ‘A’ in the class? Who cares if this isn’t your best work, it won’t knock you down that much. 12, 11, 10. AND, you’ve gotta find out whether or not Jane the Virgin is actually going to stay a virgin! (I know I’m behind, I’m only on season 1 episode 3) The countdown continues, 5, 4, 3. You know what? Maybe you should start your essay. You’ve already procrastinated this long. Do it for your family, for your teacher, for Jane, make them proud. 2, 1. And right as I was going to close the browser and be a good student, the screen turns white, the Latin narrator starts giving a recap of what happened the episode before and I once again, enter into the realm of “Jane the Virgin.”
At 5 o’clock in the morning, I finally break out of the trance just as season one had ended. Not to my surprise, I’m not worried by the fact that I have to start getting ready for school in an hour or so, nor at the fact that I have a 50 point essay due first thing in the morning. Nay. Procrastination is the root of my creativity. In fact, Jihae Shin, a professor from the University of Wisconsin, had conducted an investigation on procrastination at two companies and found that staff members who procrastinate are seen as more creative and innovative by their bosses. Not only that, some of the greatest moments, here on Earth, are all thanks to my dear ol' friend, procrastination. Wharton Business School professor, Adam Grant even states that Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address owe thanks to procrastination. As Grant had stated in an interview with BBC Radio 4: “The greatest speeches in history were re-written at the last minute so that you had a lot of flexibility to improvise while you’re still on stage, as opposed to getting the script set in stone months in advance.”
Sure, procrastination doesn’t work for everyone. It can lead some to turn in sub-par work and cause an unnecessary amount of stress that can easily be avoided. I get that. But does it really deserve all of the bad rap it gets? Ashton College had released a study stating that those who are active procrastinators are often benefitted by “better decisions, increased creativity, fewer unnecessary tasks, and increased insight.”
People often disregard procrastination and look past its true beauty. It helps us manage delay and feel a greater sense of happiness and success. However, it becomes a dilemma if you don’t care about the task at hand from the beginning, have no intention of providing your best work, and are just hoping for the best.
Procrastination isn’t something new to me, nor to my peers. After all, out of the 1,300 high school and college students surveyed by StudyMode, 87% have that they procrastinate on their school work. Though studies show that more than half of students, like myself, procrastinate, does it mean that they all do it well? HELL NO. But as stated before, it takes time to perfect. Procrastination is different for everyone, and it takes time for each person to find how to make it work for their benefit. If Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. can do it, so can we.