(A true Procrastinator may read this later.)
Procrastination is the art of freeing up one’s current schedule by delegating tasks to later times, which are often more convenient. As the motto of the Procrastinator’s Club of America states, “Don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow.”
Procrastination is shunned by many, praised by few. People who procrastinate tend to be less productive than those who do things today rather than put them off till tomorrow. But I know plenty of people who identify themselves as procrastinators, yet are highly productive, intelligent, and capable people. So, even if an inverse correlation between procrastination and productivity holds generally true, the exceptional cases show that there is not necessarily a cause-effect relationship between the two, especially not if procrastination is supposed to be the cause.
Most students reading this post will probably recall some time he or she procrastinated extensively on a homework assignment. I know that a select few of you almost never procrastinate—kudos to you. However, for the rest of us, procrastination is a part of our homework life. The cause of procrastination varies. We might simply not like the assignment. We might have a more interesting assignment we are trying to accomplish. We might be distracted or amused by a form of entertainment. Whatever the case, we tend to avoid things out till deadlines rise into plain sight.
The only negative side effect of procrastination in this case is the possibility of a large accumulation of assignments before a major project.
But what about the positive? First, we live a more natural life. Those who do every homework assignment the day it is assigned—they respond quickly, but nevertheless respond to the actions and decisions of others rather than try to self-motivate themselves to do it. We procrastinators like to mix things up; we might sometimes finish an assignment very early and with great effort if we find it interesting. Second, we are more efficient, and thus have more time. If we push an assignment to only a matter of days—or hours—before it is due, we often find ourselves working faster. True, the quality might suffer slightly, but that’s fine with us. We make up for that by occasional works of unusually high quality. Third, we are more carefree. We set our own goals and responsibilities rather than let someone else set them.
Perhaps a truer maxim for the procrastinator is, “Act when you want to.”