Are You A Procrastinator Or A Pre-crastinator?

05/22/2014 08:37 am ET | Updated May 22, 2014
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While some of us put off difficult tasks until the last minute (hello, procrastinators!) a new study shows that many people also do the opposite: "Pre-crastinate."

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, examines the phenomenon of "pre-crastination" -- that is, wanting to finish a task as quickly as possible, even if it requires exerting more physical effort.

For the study, researchers from Pennsylvania State University conducted a number of similar experiments, which all involved having study participants carry buckets down an alley. In the experiments, the buckets were put at different spots along the alley, and the study participants were asked to walk down the alley, pick up a bucket, and then take it to an endpoint. But in each experiment, the location of the buckets in the alley differed.

The study participants were asked to pick up and carry a left bucket with their left hand if they deemed that easier, or to pick up and carry a right bucket with their right hand if they deemed that easier. Researchers found in several experiments that the participants were more likely to pick whatever bucket was closest to them —- even when that meant having to carry the bucket for a farther distance down the alley.

Why? They “wanted to get the task down as soon as they could,” the participants told the researchers.

The researchers said that this was indicative of a desire to cross the assigned task of their mental to-do lists.

Do you tend toward pre-crastination to get things done and over with? Tell us in the comments!

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