When you’re in college, nobody ever tells you procrastination is a good thing. (Procrastination is delaying things like assignments until the last minute – or the one after that – or just a little later – or why don’t I wake up really extra early tomorrow morning and start then?)

No, everyone has really terrible things to say about procrastination. (I could tell you some of them, but I think I’ll get around to that tomorrow.) You’d think putting stuff off was the worst thing in the world. I mean, delaying cheating on an exam until it’s too late almost seems worse than actually cheating bang on time!

But fellow last-minute workaholics, I have good news for you: your habit of delaying working on stuff actually has some unique and great advantages. So when you have to submit that essay first thing Monday morning, and you begin working at 11 pm on Sunday, you can do so with a light heart and a tune on your lips. Here’s why:

1)       Procrastination is a great way of looking before you leap.

Just because you’re delaying sitting down to write your essay, doesn’t mean you’re not working on it at all. You keep thinking about it every now and then. And so your brain keeps whirring away in the background, figuring out the topic of your paper and what you’re going to write.

That’s why, when you finally get to work, there’s already a fairly neat plan for the whole essay laid out in your mind. You’ve strategized your project instead of hurriedly jumping into it – that’s called looking before you leap, and it’s a great way to work.

2)       Working under last-minute pressure brings out the best in you.

When you’re writing that paper under an insane deadline, there’s no time to waste. There’s no time to doubt your ideas, or to get side-tracked during your research, or to get distracted by Facebook. There’s just no time to do anything but focus completely on your work – and so, that’s what you do. You go Zen. You have that incredibly rare thing – perfect concentration.

3)       Your intuition needs some time before it can deliver that brilliant idea.

Has a great solution to a problem ever just popped into your head, when you were doing something completely different? Ever wonder what Newton was doing under that tree when the apple fell? He didn’t come up with the idea of gravity only by sweating over it in his study. I like to imagine Newton was out there just taking in the pleasant weather, when bam! Down came the apple and with it came inspiration!

Your mind sometimes just needs a break, so it can approach that essay from a different angle. Taking a break from work can be a great idea – and procrastinators are experts in that area.

4)       Waiting until the last minute makes your plans really adaptable.

The best laid plans pretty bloody often go awry, to paraphrase Burns. How often have you seen your friends carefully finish their term paper weeks before the deadline – only to have the teacher suddenly announce that you’d be working in groups instead of individually, or that you’d be giving a talk instead of writing a paper? I’ve seen it happen a hundred times, and a little strategic procrastination definitely saved me all the sweat and the tears my friends went through! Waiting makes sure that you have all the information you need before you put your plans in action.

5)       You get a lot of other stuff done!

This might not sound like a great benefit of procrastinating, but in fact, it can be really huge. If you’re a true procrastinator, you can turn this habit to your advantage by playing off different tasks against each other. So if you’re avoiding reading Hard Times for a term paper, you can do the laundry instead – which is something you’d normally avoid, but which doesn’t scare you anywhere near as much as Dickens does!

And so you end up accomplishing a whole load of things that you’d never have gotten around to doing otherwise. You probably owe it to procrastination if you got your whole CD collection cross-catalogued by year and artist, or cleaned out your desk’s bottom drawer, or ever did any vacuuming!

— The PaperTrue Team