Unless you’re Elton John (who wrote most of his hits within 30 minutes’ time), it’s unlikely that you actually do your best work at the last minute. Elton wasn’t even writing tunes last-minute, he was just quick. But, many of usthinkthat we do our best work last minute. I hear it often at the college form students. Rarely does it show up in their writing or projects. Sure, they get the work done and get a decent grade, but the level of work doesn’t cause me to pause in appreciation.
What is happening, rather, is that the deadline pressure helps them (and you/me) produce adrenaline. We’ve developed the habit of requiring it to get work done, which means that the deadline pressure aids us in pumping this powerful drug into our bodies. We don’t really do our ‘best work’ under pressure of the deadline. We get work done, but it’s not our best. As I mentioned recently, it’s not the kind of ‘art’ that people read or encounter and respond, “How did you think of that?”
Think of your best ‘work’ ever. What characterized the way you created or developed it?