The triumph of procrastinators. Why are some things better done at the last moment?


Today everyone is talking about efficiency. Any deviation from the work schedule is considered a crime against the company, the leader and the team and is called the dreaded word “procrastination”. Drinking a cup of coffee or talking to a friend on the phone during working hours is considered unacceptable, special programs monitor Internet activity, and the boss shakes his head disapprovingly, noticing the employee’s absent glance at the meeting.

Procrastination is not the worst thing in the world. Many inventors, musicians, and writers were procrastinators. Mozart wrote his famous Don Giovanni overture on the morning of the premiere after a fun night out with friends.

Some things are best done at the last moment

David Allen, author of the bestselling productivity book Getting Things Done (MYTH, 2001), writes that some tasks are best done just before deadlines.

Illumination usually comes after a topic has been thoroughly studied and considered.

Despite his reputation as a time management guru, he prefers to pack his suitcase shortly before the trip, explaining it like this: “If I give myself more time to pack, I will spend all that time packing. But not to put things, but to think about what to put in a suitcase. Should I take a casual sweater? Put on one or two pairs of shoes? Will I have time to run during my business trip? Will it get colder or not? And so on, ad infinitum. “

David Allen explains that if he has twice as much time to collect his luggage, he will not do the task twice as good or faster, but he will definitely get double the stress.

There are things you shouldn’t put off

If routine tasks can be left for later, then creative tasks, such as writing a picture or a piece of music, should not be postponed.

To do something at the last moment requires two conditions.

1. Know exactly how long this task will take. This approach is practically inapplicable to creative work, although some creative people like to work under pressure. They say they sometimes get brilliant ideas at the last moment. Pay attention to the word “sometimes”.

Is it worth the risk in the hope that the muse will visit you five minutes before the deadline? In addition, insight usually comes after the topic has been carefully studied and considered.

2. Consciously decide that you will do it at the last moment. If you decide so, do not torment yourself with doubts. Otherwise, you will get more stress than the benefits of your procrastination.

David Allen gives this advice: “Agree with yourself. It should be a conscious choice, so that the restless part of your nature does not drain energy through thinking like “I think I shouldn’t have done this.”

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