After last week’s post about the “One Minute Rule,” Jessica Rabb, from the Math and Natural Sciences division, sent me an article about the danger of ‘precrastination.’ During some ingenious experiments on college students, researchers found that people will often do inane and even unnecessary things to lighten their cognitive load.
Especially in our wireless world where the dings for emails, messages, posts, and tweets never stop, we can easily mistake being busy for being productive. We might feel good after getting our in-box down to fifty emails, but we may still not have gotten to any of the important business of the day.
When I taught composition, I lectured my students on not worrying about how a word was spelled at the rough draft stage. “We’re working with content here,” I’d say. “You may not even have that word in your final draft. Don’t edit until the end.”
Students often did not like my advice. After all, finding out how a word is spelled is easier than taking out whole chunks of text and rewriting. And it can certainly feel like something is being accomplished.
t’s probably worthwhile to remember Stephen Covey’s time management quadrant. He divided tasks into urgent/not urgent and important/not important. By looking to see where a task lies in the quadrant, we can make wise decisions about what to do first and what to perhaps omit all together.
Unfortunately, the past two weeks have taught me that I am some sort of weird combination of the procrastinator and the precrastinator.