Never Leave Your Paper to the Last Moment (and Other Lies)

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A First Word on Procrastination

           12392068_s.jpg Every teacher will tell you that at least one of the keys to producing brilliant writing is to leave yourself time to review and edit, which means starting early. Every student will admit to being a sucker for procrastination and never starting work on an assignment right away.

            There are of course reasons for this, including everything from genes (of course) and your upbringing to the excitement that comes from having increasingly little time to get something done. According to Cracked, scientists have so clearly identified the chemical process associated with procrastination that it is conceivable that we could actually block those chemicals that cause us the pleasure associated with putting off work. Welcome to a brave new world.

How Procrastination Might -- I say Might -- Help

            Overly facile denouncements of procrastination aside, there are in fact situations when procrastination can help; it is a dangerous flirtation nevertheless.

            For guys, procrastination is especially seductive because it forces them into a definitive moment of heroic achievement, and this heightened sense of danger and need to excel can in fact result in better performance intellectually. The reason for this is simple: when you are focused on your target (another very masculine trait according to firmly ensconced popular science) you don't allow yourself to second-guess your ideas or waste time creating round-about text: you say what you mean in as few words as possible.

            For gals, procrastination would usually be less helpful because, being inclined toward manipulating many ideas at once and working through them verbally through either writing or conversation, a slower, more considered pace allows more time to sort and process ideas. A selective procrastination may still be helpful, though, because you could put off a final revision in favour of talking through your ideas with a friend, or put off submitting your paper until you've given it a final revision or had a friend read it.

            Of course, selective procrastination will help in any situation, particularly if you put off procrastinating until your project is finished. I could say more about this, but I think I'll wait and do it later.

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This page contains a single entry by Legible Larry published on May 3, 2013 6:02 PM.

Picking a Topic for Your Essay was the previous entry in this blog.

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