It’s back-to-school time, a time when procrastinators will once again have to face their vice. But there is an underrepresented population out there with an issue just as problematic: precrastinators, or those who do their work early.
I am the type of person who constantly has my planner in hand, and I get a lot of pride from checking things off my to-do list. When there is a daunting task that needs to be complete, I feel uneasy until I know it’s done. That’s why I finish my tasks in as timely a manner as possible. Yes, I am a precrastinator. I admit it. But being a precrastinator isn’t exactly easy.
I can trace my problem back to elementary school: I had a rule that I could enjoy my fun, silent reading books if, and only if, I finished all my schoolwork. I would rush through assignments just so I could get back to hanging out with Harry Potter, Judy Moody, and Stanley Yelnants ASAP. It seemed like a flawless system at the time, but it turns out it wasn’t.
The downside to my precrastination became apparent in high school. I attended a biomedical science academy and had a teacher who was a chronic procrastinator, my complete opposite. She would assign these long reports heavy on research and experiments, and I would rush to get them done. Then, at the last minute, she’d change the details of the assignments, so I’d wind up having to redo most of my work to fit the new criteria. Even though I could have predicted she’d change the assignments every time and knew I’d have to redo it, I still had to do the work early. It wasted a lot of time, but I couldn’t help it: If I didn’t do an assignment immediately, the anxiety would kick in. I need to finish the assignment! What if something happens and I don’t get to finish it on time? It can’t be late. This needs to get done. Now.
Truthfully, doing anything early can be just as problematic as doing it late. When things change, or you find out more information about the topic after you’ve already finished it, you have to decide whether to waste more time redoing it or to just send in the “rushed” version. Neither are great options, and they’re probably just as bad for someone who waited until the last minute.
So having admitted my problem, I hope to slowly travel on the road to recovery. But it won’t be easy. My elementary school rule never quite faded, and my mind just never seems to stop nagging me to finish my work so I can hang out, guilt-free, with Katniss Everdeen, Holden Caulfield, and all those other characters on the Internet.
Morissa Schwartz is the only person in the world with her name. It is that little difference, that one “o,” that has set her apart from others her entire life. She currently is a Community Contributor for Entertainment Weekly and has a blog at http://myneongreennotebook.blogspot.com.When she is not writing, Morissa is singing and was a contestant on MTV’s Copycat. Connect with Morissa at MorissaSchwartz.com and follow her on Twitter @feefeertr.
(Image via Shutterstock)