How To Deal With Precreastination
By TOI Staff April 18, 2023 Update on : April 18, 2023
We all know procrastination. Precrastination, on the other hand, is much less well known. It is the opposite of procrastination and is also called “procrastinationitis”. It also means the opposite of procrastination, sometimes you need to push off things to have more time for slots online.
The term procrastination is now firmly anchored in our society and language. Just about every:r of us has heard this term and is probably familiar with procrastination behavior from our own everyday lives. The reasons why someone procrastinates can be of different nature. Often it is because one associates negative feelings with a certain task or fears criticism. But these are not the only reasons, because wrong prioritization, bad time management as well as unrealistic goals can also play a role in procrastination.
While procrastination has become a well-known buzzword, precrastination is still a rather unknown term: unlike procrastination, it is hardly ever used. What is the habit of precrastination all about? And is it really always good to get everything done as immediately as possible?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Precrastination and the scientific situation regarding it: When you get something done, you usually get a good feeling. If you have a to-do list on which you can check off the completed task afterwards, you probably feel even better. You may even sometimes check off tasks you’ve already completed or write even the smallest intermediate steps on the list. This is exactly the tendency that describes the phenomenon of precrastination: the good feeling you get from completing the task leads you to complete it as quickly as possible. Precrastination thus describes the habit of starting or performing a task as quickly as possible.
Precrastination has been little researched until now. In 2014, researchers conducted a study to investigate the phenomenon. In doing so, they conducted a simple experiment with participants – called the bucket experiment. For this, the researchers placed two buckets on a track. One of the two buckets was always closer to the target than the other. The participants then had the task of covering the distance and bringing a bucket of their choice to the destination. Contrary to the assumption that many would take the second bucket and carry it to the destination, the opposite was the case. The majority of participants took the bucket that was closer to the start and carried it to the finish – even if it meant carrying the bucket for a longer period of time. The study leaders also noted this tendency toward precrastination in other tasks in the study.
HOW AND WHEN DOES IT OCCUR?
The results of the study raise the following questions: Why did participants choose this irrational path of carrying the first bucket to the finish line despite greater physical effort? The majority of participants stated that the reason for their decision was that they wanted to complete the task as quickly as possible. While they did not actually finish any faster as a result of their decision to carry the first bucket, it still felt to them as though they had started the task earlier and were therefore able to check it off sooner.
The researchers themselves also gave three reasons why people tend to precrastinate:
When you complete a subgoal, you feel closer to achieving the main goal.
You feel better when you’re busy doing something than when you’re doing nothing at all.
The most important reason for precrastination, according to researchers, is that cognitive resources are consumed to keep tasks in working memory. When people have the opportunity to complete tasks early to relieve the burden on memory, they tend to do so – regardless of whether or not it requires more effort.
The disadvantages of anticipation
The results of the study make it seem like precrastinating is always a good thing. In principle, of course, it’s good if you unload your working memory and don’t procrastinate all the time. However, if you constantly precrastinate and feel the urge to complete tasks immediately, it can also have negative effects on you.
For example, precrastination can lead to increased stress levels,
you may lose focus on higher priority tasks,
working superficially and quickly may result in a lower quality of your work, and
in extreme cases, it could even lead to psychological consequences like burnout if you increase your workload too much. So you need to be very careful and attentive. Take a day off to breath.