In defence of leaving everything to the last minute

There is no doubt about it, I am a procrastinator.

From not booking train tickets until the last minute, to not waking up in time to walk to work and being forced to get a taxi instead, procrastinating is a day to day occurrence in my life.

So it came as no surprise to read that it’s estimated that people lose £450 a year to delaying important decisions.

When you are constantly leaving things to the last minute, the little expenses here and there add up. Yet, I don’t regret my life choices – I actually think procrastinating is a good thing.

I have always done it; all the way through school, college and university. My only rule when it comes to how long I can put something off for is that it can only affect me – you shouldn’t procrastinate to the extent it impacts other people.

I’ve tried to start things early to save myself the stress but I’ve found if start a project too long in advance I get easily distracted and my heart just isn’t in it.

I work better under pressure and, oddly, the projects that I – miraculously – manage to start early are never as well received as the work I do when I leave things to the last minute.

I think the main example of this would be my dissertation: I started it 15 hours before the deadline.

It definitely wasn’t the best idea and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it if you want to write something spectacular, but it can be done.

It worked out for me personally. I recently graduated with a very high 2.2 and will be continuing my studies next year with a masters degree.

For me, it’s not a case of prioritising less important things, it’s about doing completely different tasks until I feel the pressure of a deadline enough to feel inspired.

My favourite way to procrastinate is just to clean. When I was putting off doing my dissertation I deep cleaned the entire house.

I’ll clean anything and everything, including the tops of wardrobes and I’ll take the time to re-arrange my furniture. Either way I always feel in a better head space to crack on with a project if everything is clean.

Largely my experience has taught me to trust the process of leaving everything to the last minute. I firmly believe that things will work themselves out end.

But it is important to remember that you take a risk when you start procrastinating and you should prepare yourself from the consequences that come with your lifestyle choice.

For example, pulling all-nighters can really confused your sleep schedule and body clock – it’s something I’ve learnt the hard way.

The worst thing about procrastination though is the comments from other people. People have said that I don’t deserve good grades and assume that procrastinators are simply lazy.

I understand how annoying it must be to put in hours of work in advance to get the same grade as someone who does it in a third of the time but I know that if other people could do it like me, they would.

I do work hard, just in my own way. Doing things at the last minute shouldn’t be frowned upon just because it’s atypical.

I realise, however, that it is not seen as an admirable trait at work and, as I love my job, I make sure to meet deadlines. It all comes back to the first rule of procrastination: do it on your own time, not others’.

I appreciate my style doesn’t work for a lot of people but I really don’t ever see myself changing. I’m almost 23 and I haven’t felt the need to yet.

The best part of procrastination is the free time it gives you. We’re all so rushed off our feet meeting demands of work, school or social obligations that we don’t take the time to slow down and just drift about every now and again.

I don’t want to miss out on the world around me and taking the time to do nothing means I never do.

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