I confess that I am.
I can’t count the number of times I hurried to buy a material the first day it was announced only for a politician to buy for the whole class two days later_ and end up pinching myself. This is just one of many instances. It manifests in different ways, even unconsciously.
Precrastination is the flip side of procrastination. While the procrastinator thinks there is always time to do it later, the precrastinator feels later is not an option, do it now! and its not as good as it sounds. You most likely won’t find it in your dictionary, because it’s still a new term coined in 2014 by a psychologist, David Rosenbaum who conducted an experiment in a university to describe the phenomenon.
Together with his team, he selected a group of university students and asked them to pick either of two buckets, one on the right and another on the left side of an alley which they were to carry to the end point. One of the buckets was closer to the end point but farther from the student at the start point, while the other was farther from the end point but closer to the student.
The psychologists emphasized choosing the easier task (the bucket closer to the end point). Contrary to their expectation, participants opted for the bucket that was closer to the start point and farther from the end point, a choice they concluded was seemingly irrational and reflected a tendency to precrastinate_ hastening of sub-goal completion at the expense of extra physical effort.
Long story short, precrastinators have that sense of urgency to complete tasks immediately whether they are important or not, just do it now. Thus while the procrastinator delays important tasks too long, the precrastinator doesn’t delay unimportant tasks. But how is that a problem? We will get to that, first lets find out the cause.
Interestingly, the root cause the same as procrastination; alleviation of uncomfortable emotion, usually anxiety. You might have noticed that anytime you procrastinate, it is in a bid to alleviate an underlying emotion, you just don’t want to face that task at the moment, you just don’t feel up to it now, you’re to bored for that, you are anxious, its one emotion or the other. So you tend to decide based on what feels good at the moment.
Similarly, precrastination is accompanied by a quest to alleviate negative emotion; anxiety that births urgency to address the task immediately. In carrying out the task immediately, the goal is to stop feeling anxious, just get it off your to do list and rest. Another relevant cause is time-management. As a matter of fact, it seems the time of precrastinators is faster that the normal time so they feel that sense of urgency to carry out the smallest tasks.
As you might have concluded, its not such a bad thing, but it does have its downsides, really downsides. Aside the fact that it comes with an extreme sense of deadlines that could result in excess stress and fatigue, it also provides short term satisfaction at the expense of long term ideals in many cases.
More so, because precrastinators are always in a haste to just get it of their chest, they don’t sit back to contemplate their actions and may end up making the wrong moves. From Rosenbaum’s study, it leads people to focus on urgent tasks rather than important ones and might ultimately harm productivity.
I just remembered that the same clearance process that took me and many weeks to complete, took some other two days…scrap that. Yea, I have also been among the first set to pay some school dues that were slashed two weeks later, lol.
Working at a faster pace is no doubt advantageous, but when its motivated by urgency to discard tasks, or alleviate negative emotion, the negatives might ensue, so to help with that, precrastinators are advised to;
- Increase their awareness of precrastination, stop, think and then act.
- draw up a schedule in a scale of preference format. Prioritize
- Redefine progress, its not always by doing things hastily, talking to myself
- Practice emotional tolerance
I agree it’s a complex phenomenon and you might not fully grasp if you’ve not been a victim, but I hope y’all learnt a thing or two. At least the fact that there is such a thing as precrastination. As always, the discussion continues in the comment section, I really want to know whether there are testifiers, lol. Remember to like, share and sign-up for more, Ciao!.