If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Last Minute Crowd

Anastasia has an interesting post up that describes her frustration with colleagues that procrastinate on tasks that directly affect her job. I can sympathize. We probably all can as there is always someone who has a task that is high priority for you but low priority for them.  However Anastasia is talking about a real clash in work personalities and she finds herself in the minority.  While I don't think I can match her organizational abilities, I've lived my life getting tasks done ahead of time and have found the rest of the world doesn't.

Many people can get some work done on time.  It is interesting that for some it is the high priority tasks and for others it is the low priority tasks, but either way they aren't late with every deliverable. And I will admit that there are times when I procrastinate.  For example, there are times when I could get grading done in one week but choose to take two weeks.  I also tend to complete my reviews for journals the day they are due when I've had them for several weeks.  Sure I could have done them early but they are rather low priority for me.  I am rarely late with a deadline.  Instead I tend to feel that being on time is being late.  

I was the type of kid that did her homework at lunch or on the bus/train going home from school.  I was surrounded by people who did their homework on the bus/train going to school.  These are the "last minute crowders" [LMCrs].  They are everywhere and they drive us crazy.

I worked for one for many years.  He wrote a lot of grants.  Grants have very hard deadlines.  Those of us who worked under him used to beg and plead for him to at least start the process a month before they were due.  Often he would have me develop a budget for something he hadn't even conceived of yet.  It was busy work.  If we were lucky he would start a week before the due date.  I pulled a lot of all-nighters in the job.  This was back before there were electronic submissions and we would need to hire special (very expensive) couriers to make sure the multiple copies arrived in time because we had missed FedEx's last pick-up.

I gave birth to a LMCr.  Angel and I rarely fought when he was growing up but when we did it was almost always around getting his homework done.  It is very hard for me to understand why someone would wait on a task, particularly a task they don't want to do, instead of getting it done right away. I don't like the feeling of having a task hanging over my head but Angel seemed far more comfortable with this feeling.  He was often able to forget about the task completely or at least until the night before it was due.  And maybe that is where the difference lies. 


Joan Kane Nichols said...

Perhaps AJ inherited that trait from his maternal grandmother, a LMCr who has surely driven many people crazy in her time.



Anonymous said...

I do hate that feeling! If I could forget, maybe I would wait. But I get such a rush out of it being finished, why would I? :)

Catherine said...

You and K must have been cut from the same piece of cloth! He's the opposite of a procrastinator. I call him the anti-crastinator.

Annie said...

I am such an odd mix, late for some things, early for others. In general, I do tend to procrastinate; but it's because there's always something else I'd rather be doing. At work, I'm never late. At home, the housework and the "home work" slides and slides.