Yancy’s Law of Optimal Delay

A computer science professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, came up with a law that for any given task, there is a point between procrastination and quality that provides the optimal result.
For example:
You are given an assignment that is due 2 months from now that requires 1 week of work.

Example 1, the early bird:
You begin immediately, you will finish the task with at most 8 weeks to spare.
Unfortunately, your professor then cancels the assignment 3 weeks in and you find that you’ve wasted a week of your time for nothing.

Example 2, the procrastinator:
You wait till 4 days before deadline to begin.
Your quality suffers and you get a bad grade.

Example 3, the optimal delay:
You wait 6 weeks before beginning and take extra time to do a good job.
Your teacher probably won’t cancel their plans last minute, so you’re safe.
You get a good grade and you’re sure you didn’t waste your time.

This applies well to classes, but also applies very well, I’ve found, to the real-world example of my job. I often have tasks that get re-prioritized, canceled, or changed, and this law helps me ensure I’m always on task with something worthwhile.

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