Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why Last Minute Work is Not Always Bad

I am not a procrastinator.  I repeat, I am not a procrastinator.

I like my work completed early, and fast.

If I get an assignment, hell, I'll do it one week earlier even before I receive it.  Okay, exaggerating there a bit, but you get my point.

'Coz I hate last minute work and cramming.  It stresses me out.

But since the dawn of that bloody mind-controlling Facebook, I started to procrastinate.  Somehow reading about people bashing other people is more interesting than my work.

And people post A LOT of interesting, funny, gruesome, horrifying, cute, touching, inspiring links.  You just gotta read 'em all, you know?  You don't wanna be left out, do you?

After spending hours mindlessly on Facebook and reading reviews on hundreds of beauty products and make up I can't afford to buy, I'd feel horrible.  Like a person on a diet who succumbs to a glorious cheese cake.  You'd hate yourself for wasting time; time you could have used to mark overdue papers, time you could never get back.

So it is a habit I'm trying to kick.

However, there are circumstances when you did not choose to do work at the eleventh hour.

When you're working as a teacher in school, sudden assignments would be thrown at your face at any minute of your working AND sleeping day, and guess what, you have only 24 hours to do it, when you should have been granted a week or two to get it done.  But no, the admin is not that nice nor have an excellent record of management.  You can't complain 'coz that means now you'd have 23 hours to complete the assignment.

In my first year of teaching, I'd get burnt out with stress.

But this year, I have become a pro.  There were so many cases where despite the lack of time, resources and energy, I managed to pull off an excellent job.

The best example was managing my team for Sports Day earlier this year.  My partner and I managed to find and train athletes and prepare all those thingamabobs in 5 DAYS.  When we should have been given a month.  But guess what, our team came out as champions.

Also, sometimes we overlook memos.  A couple of days ago, I saw a memo on the noticeboard, reminding all head teacher advisors to update and spruce up their clubs' noticeboards.  When I saw it, the due date was the next day.  Very much aware that my English Language Society noticeboard was a wasteland since 2010, I went on 'overdrive' mode.  I had a meeting till evening, so that meant that I had only a few hours to make it pretty.  I just went crazy that night.  The good kind of crazy.

Then I remembered something that I've vaguely heard about while studying in university, a thing called 'eustress'.  Eustress is why last minute work is not always bad.

Eustress is defined as "stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the filling of fulfilment."

Working under pressure, I was more focused and driven, with one main goal in life at that point of time - finish the damn job, and finish it good.

I didn't remember feeling hungry, tired and sleepy.  Even when I was done, I was still pumped, and super proud of my last minute work, even though it wasn't much.  Like the definition above, there was a sense of fulfilment to be able to complete something something at the very last minute.

Last minute = Minimalist mod

But of course, if given the chance to do an assignment within a given time span, of course I'd still jump at it the minute I get my hands on it, provided that the Internet does not get to me first.  However, if I were assigned a job last minute, I'm pretty sure I can rock it either way.  Because it is all about perceptions.  Whether you want to view stress as a negative threat, or a positive challenge.  Yeah, I totally stole that line from Wikipedia.

So, what do you think about last minute work - live for it, or hate it?


chegu carol said...

i LOVE working at the eleventh hour despite having the task given me months before. now that u pointed out eustress, that could be me...cos somehow, my work seems to give more appealing result when done at the last minute.
i cursed myself while in the process of completing last minutes task. but when i was done, i have this weird sense of accomplishment that feels like drug. i want it again and again.
i hope you share my feeling on this too :D

TaQuiLa said...

i love both!

if given last minute job, memang la menghambur in any kind of words..last minute last minute! but at the other side, i'm kinda 'like' it coz it's really pumped up my adrenalin to the top :P

like carol said, when the 'last-minute-thing' was done, macam mo second time pula. What more it was a success!

Amanda Christine Wong said...


From the words of the Queen of Procrastination herself! No wonder la kan people like to do things last minute. Ada rush!

@Sheila: tau tu ko slalu complain jg...hehe...tu la, i think i dont mind already la kalo kena bagi kerja last minute :D

V said...

Last minute work is second nature. Miahaha.

Amanda Christine Wong said...


Haha. Seems like everyone I know is are last minute workers :D

chegu carol said...

Btw, i also wanted to comment on your papan kenyataan bah tu.

cantikkkkkk...sia mau tiru tu! :D

Amanda Christine Wong said...