“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Abraham Lincoln”*
Tired of procrastinating? We have good news. Scientists have found that pre-crastination, or the desire to get difficult tasks done first, is also a very common human attribute.
This emerged after research was conducted on a population group notorious for their mastery of procrastination – students. The students were asked to carry buckets different distances. They could choose which of the bucket carrying tasks they would like to undertake first.
Contrary to expectations, the researchers led by psychological scientist David Rosenbaum from Pennsylvania State University, found that almost all the students showed an “overwhelming tendency” to undertake the most difficult bucket carrying task first, according to the study’s report.
When asked why they undertook the most difficult task first, the students replied that they “wanted to get the task done as soon as they could.”
Rosenbaum and his team speculate that participants wanted to get rid of the mental stress of the looming larger task. “Our findings indicate that while our participants did care about physical effort, they also cared a lot about mental effort,” says Rosenbaum.
“Their desire to lighten their mental load was so strong that they were willing to expend quite a bit of extra physical effort to do so.”
In the words of a psychologist Tim Pychylin in another Men’s Health story: Problems You Can Fix Right Now, “Once I have success with one goal, it increases my happiness, wellbeing, satisfaction and self-confidence. And that motivates me”
The scientists, whose work is published in the journal Psychological Science, say that further research is needed into how pre-crastination and procrastination interact. But they seem confident that pre-crasination is not an abnormality. “Almost all the people we tested pre-crastinated.”
*Jury is out on whether Abe Lincon used the word ‘hustle’, but we’re not gonna let that stop us from using a cool quote to make a point.