For years, I believed that anything worth doing was worth doing early. In college, I wrote my papers weeks early and finished my thesis months before the due date. I prided myself on my time-management skills and eventually landed a job in investment banking. Psychologists have a name for my condition, pre-crastination.
Pre-crastination is the tendency to complete tasks quickly just for the sake of getting things done sooner rather than later. If you're a serious pre-crastinator, postponement and delay are agonizing. When a rush of emails land in your inbox and you don't answer them instantly, you feel as if your life is spinning out of control. When you have an important client pitch next week, each day you don't work on it brings a creeping sense of doom, gloom and utter despair.
Conversely procrastinators, as the writer Tim Urban describes on the blog Wait But Why, are at the mercy of an Instant Gratification Monkey who lives in their brain, constantly asking questions like "Why would we ever use a computer for work when the Internet is sitting right there waiting to be played with?" Urban rationally argues that Wikipedia rabbit holes, clickbait and watching random youtube videos actually encourage us to think harder about what we're really procrastinating on. Sounds dreamy right. In a million years I would have never believed that waiting could make things better, but then, after 15 years, I changed careers. I became an entrepreneur and founded Project Eve.
For the first time in my life, I had no deadlines. It was very unnerving. I tried to check tasks off my list but found it near impossible since I kept going back and revisiting old projects and ideas. Yet, over time, I started lightening up and began to embrace what I called the Creativity Feedback Loop.
Creativity is the process of generating new ideas out of combinations of old ideas. In the Creativity Feedback Loop, you have time to think about the ideas and consider them from many different angles. You have the time to come up with better alternatives. Most importantly, you have the time to discuss your ideas with more people and get their feedback, that ultimately results in better ideas and decisions. Entrepreneurship demands creative solutions. Things don't always go as planned and the more nimble and flexible you are the better the results. A little procrastination can go a long way.
Hey I said a little! As we all know there is a time that procrastination can go bad, very bad. But there exists a built in mechanism to combat even the worst procrastinators. Urban also tells us about The Panic Monster who is dormant most of the time, but then suddenly wakes up when a deadline gets too close or when there's danger of public embarrassment, a career disaster, or some other scary consequence.