I wonder if skimming the blogs was one of the items on your to-do list today? Perhaps you’ll feel a warm glow of well-being when you tick it off? If that’s your general style, you might be one of life’s precrastinators.
Yup, you read that correctly. No, my spell check hasn’t gone on the blink. This is just the snazzy new term for people who tend to knuckle down to tasks prematurely, for the satisfaction of having got them out of the way. Perfectly sensible, you might be thinking, except that in the research that spawned the term, people were prepared to expend more effort completing the task early than they would have needed had they put it off until later.
Does this mean that we should all congratulate ourselves for our tendency to procrastinate? Probably not, but we might consider whether “clearing the decks” before settling down to “the real work” is not only a way of avoiding an unpleasant or daunting task, but actually creating more work for ourselves.
We all need to navigate a route between the banks of precrastination and procrastination in a way that works for us. The Carrot Ranch Rough Writers addressed the theme of muddled priorities in our flash fiction a few weeks ago. Seemingly, I can’t get enough of it, as I’ve returned to the theme in my response to this week’s challenge, which was to write a 99-word futuristic story that looks ahead. I’m not sure I’ve been properly faithful to the prompt – and, in my defence, I did produce a story set in the future in response to the climate change challenge – but I did enjoy playing with this:
The acknowledgements were proving as problematic as the seating plan for a society wedding. Where to put the stalwart friend who’d praised even her notes to the milkman? Whether to credit the tutor whose criticism had set her back a couple of years, but whose name would glorify the blurb? How to include her family who, in all honesty, resented her love affair with her laptop?
Even on the screen, the blank page was menacing. But she had to face it. Her fingers danced across the keyboard: CHAPTER 1. She reached for her wineglass. She’d begin in earnest tomorrow.
What do you think? Is my character a precrastinator, a procrastinator or something else? And which are you?