Are you a pre-crastinator?

I am. Researchers at Penn State have identified what I would suggest is a modern coping phenomenon – hurrying to get something done so we can cross the task off our mental to-do list, even if doing so is non-productive.

pre-crastinating Sarah Wilson
Image via Jack Shainman Gallery

They call it pre-crastinating and they suggest those of us who do it, do so to offload “working memory”. That is, we plough through something just to reduce the number of things we have to remember to do.

My main pre-crastinating activity is attending to email each day rather than prioritising the more important tasks. I can get totally caught up in cleaning out my inbox. Ditto social media fussing. As I fuss and tend I convince myself I’m getting shit done. I convince myself I’m in control. And I’m validated.

But it’s an illusion. It’s like trying to plug a dyke with your thumb. Except it’s worse. Your thumb-plugging is creating more holes for more email pings, more input, more distractions and more frenetic-ness to come in.

Emails beget more emails. I’ve written about the non-productivity of this before. Also, going down the fussy rabbit hole of social media and emails takes up so much energy…leaving you creatively spent and uninspired for the important stuff.

These days I’m resolving to observe my pre-crastinating. And boldly put blinkers up to the mental to-do list…favouring the important stuff instead.

Are you a pre-crastinator as well? How do you focus?

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