Sunday, August 21, 2016

Precrastination (no, that's not a typo)

I'm not a procrastinator. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m the sort of person who gets chores out of the way before doing fun stuff, who completes their uni assignments weeks before others have started theirs, and who sometimes rushes into a decision before she has all the facts (not ideal, I know). I’ve long searched for a word to describe non-procrastinators such as myself. The Macquarie Thesaurus ( shows four synonyms for procrastination – avoidance, idleness, indecision and lateness – but no antonyms.

Anyway … a couple of years ago I reread Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did series of books, which were originally published between 1872 and 1890. They're kids’ books, but still enjoyable to read now I'm an adult. In the fourth book, Clover, Katy is described as having forehandedness and it seems that this is the opposite of procrastination. A handy, if archaic, term.

This week, I've found another, newly-coined, word for non-procrastination: precrastination! If you type it into Google it will initially assume you've made a mistake, but there have been several articles on the subject in, for example, Scientific American and Psychology Today over the past couple of years. They argue that this tendency has both pros and cons (of course it does!) but on balance I feel pretty comfortable doing things ahead of time rather than waiting till the last minute. It's a bit like having a personal incentive program, where you get unpleasant or difficult tasks out of the way before allowing yourself to relax. Now, I'd better go and clean the bathroom before I go out for coffee ...

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