We’ve all heard the same story time and time again, about the issue of procrastination. We hear it from teachers, regardless of subject or year, from employers, coworkers, parents, fellow all-nighters: procrastination is bad, addictive, and unwise. But if that is true, how are people able to perform in a crunch and, at times, do a remarkable job at the very last minute? A new book titled, “Wait: The Art and Science of Delay” by Frank Partnoy of the University of San Diego, attempts to overturn our verdict on procrastination and re-examines the actual results of procrastinating.
A recent article in The Economist discuses the book and other studies from John Hopkins University and argues that in actuality people make better decisions when they have longer to stab at problems. This translates into waiting to work on or finish projects until the last minute before the deadline. Partnoy argues that procrastination can lead to improved productivity and increased insight into the project (depending on the project).
They also emphasize that people who take longer to make decisions often make much more ethical decisions than those who make snap decisions. He uses the example of the financial services industry, where time is everything and people in fast-pace positions makes quick decisions, but not always the right ethical decision.
Does procrastination actually improve productivity or is it just a ploy for those people who are lazy?
Schumpeter. “No Rush: In Praise of Procrastination.” The Economist. 07.07.12