Cavuto: Washington reminds us of the dangers of dawdling

You know, it's not always "better late than never." Because if you're really late, you never get anything approaching even kind of good. That's the problem with doing everything at the last minute: Whatever you come up with, looks like it.

This whole government shutdown thing is the latest example of the dangers of dawdling.

Me? I hate doing things last minute. In fact, I panic waiting for anything. I was that way in high school and in college and even grad school. I always liked to get assignments done early, not because I was any stellar student but because I knew I'd be a far worse student if I didn't think things through early. Again, not because I was fast, but precisely because I was not.

Plus, I hated the idea of a big project just sitting over my head like an anvil. In fact, I dreaded it. So, if the professor gave me a few weeks to work on a term paper, I'd try to get it done in the first week. There's a risk to that too, I know, in that you can rush a mediocre job just as much as you can a last-minute one. And believe me, I had some doozies even being early. But the benefit of thinking early with a clear head is you avoid the potential of scrambling and creating a clear mess.

Plus, I'm a list guy. Chalk it off my list because I knew and know there'll be new lists, new assignments, new surprises, new chores that will invariably pile on when I least expect it, so why not complete the project I already know is due and just finish it.

The same applies to group projects and I had more than a few of those in school. Few thought my way because, well, most had lives -- particularly social lives that I did not -- so it seemed by comparison, I had all the time in the world to get cracking fast.

To me, it's about time management. And the more time you spend on something well before a deadline, the more you're likely to craft something that will stand the test of time and that deadline. Not all the time. But most of the time.

I mean, it's not as if Congress doesn't know the dates when things are coming due, when money is likely to run out, and when everything will hit the fan. Avoid the fan, avoid the fuss. Get everyone in a room and craft a fix or risk being in an even bigger fix.

You'd think history would teach us that not all projects get better with time, especially when you've wasted so much time. Yet we are always late. And we are always shutting things down.

It's as if we think things will be better this time, until we realize once again we are out of time. Once again, producing something half-hearted, half-witted and eventually, just plain-old half-ass.

My friends, we can do better.