Does the early bird really catch the worm? Well so I always thought until last year when I was preparing a lecture on time management having just read a fantastic book by Adam Grant called the Originals (2016); brilliant it is and I firmly recommend it to anyone.
In Originals Grant argues that procrastination has its place. He makes a similar case in a New York Times article. He cites the unpublished work of one of his students. Students were asked to produce business plans for a new shop on campus. Some were asked to start ASAP others after procrastinating by playing video games. The procrastinators scored as more creative in idea generation. His explanation was that while procrastinating they were thinking about the project subconsciously and therefore had more considered solutions.
It is not the type of answer that someone trying to encourage students to plan better and start their coursework early wants to read and it has been widely challenged in several blog posts. Here is another. What Grant was really talking about is perhaps better described as ‘strategic delay’ and taking time to consider and review all the options before leaping in to action. It may allow you time to gather your ideas, to reflect on the challenge, wait for more information, learn from your peers mistakes’ as they start the task. The downside is you have less time to complete the actual task and the closer to the deadline the more pressure you may feel and the greater the impact that pressure may have on other deadlines. So, the truth is probably something like this: planning is good and including an element of ‘reflective delay’ is potentially beneficial as long as something actually happens during the delay (i.e., you are thinking about the task).
Why not have a read of some of the post on this subject and see what you think?