Why is it, that even when we know months in advance when a deadline is, we always end up working right up to the last possible minute to finish something? I use the generic “we” to refer to all people, not just me or the people I work with. Though there may be unique individual cases (a.k.a. freaks), procrastination seems pretty universal.
I absolutely despise working under duress, and last-minute work is always stressful. And every time a big conference paper submission deadline approaches, it seems to surprise us. Even though the submission date is the same every year! This is a strange phenomenon that seriously demands scientific study.
So, we’ve reached another annual NCA submission deadline. My last paper was just submitted, only minutes ago (not by me, thank goodness, because 40 minutes before the submission site closes really is pushing it), so now we can all relax. But I really do want to know why we always wait so long to get started. It probably has something to do with behavioral economics; somewhere someone like Steven Levitt is ready to tell me that procrastination is an expressed preference for valuing present time over future time. Or something having to do with rational utility maximization. Probably that one. It sounds so technical; it must explain this.