This post is a counter-point to the last where I talked about my evolving relationship to procrastination. This post is about the opposite of that: Precrastination.
My friend M is a classic procrastinator. We co-work together a few times a week and while I was writing the talk I was going to give later that day (see last month’s post for details), M was writing a talk too, and she was pretty stressed out about it. “I feel so behind,” she said. Someone else in the group asked when the talk was going to be. “Two months,” she said.
M gets things done early. She also feels the same level of stress in doing so that I feel. We are both stressed out for two months before giving a major talk but because M is putting more attention on it, she is in fact more stressed out about it than I, who will begin the talk I’m giving in two months in… two months.
That said, I have to come clean about something. The truth is, I’m writing this post, intended to be read in October, on July 7th. This is the second time I have prepared posts a few months in advance. I am going to be out of the country for September and October so I am writing these ahead of time to be sure I am providing content that is valuable to you, dear reader. I am… a precrastinator. I am getting this work done wildly early. It’s not super hard to do because I love writing these posts and hearing what ya’ll think. It’s fun for me. But also, it is necessary. Or rather, it is helpful. It frees my mind up to do other precrastination work in the coming months so I’m not stressing about it while I’m away. I *could* be spending my time in Europe writing these posts, but I’d rather do it now, with a free afternoon in Philadelphia and no fjords to look at. Also, I have a talk to give while I’m away and a whole residency to partake in. I have plenty to procrastinate on later.
In keeping with last month, I think the question of when I pro/precrastinate comes down to the energy I have to expend in presenting the material. I don’t need to conserve energy to schedule this post. I do need to conserve energy to give a talk to opera-lovers in Helsinki. The chain reaction of stress —> writing —> practicing —> crankiness —> giving a talk doesn’t apply to this post. Writing a Sept/Oct post back to back allows me to stay in flow with writing and create something more cohesive than I would be able to do if I didn’t write them back to back. The form fits the function.
I’ll leave you with one last thought: How do you work? What would it be like to consider the way you work a true superpower?