January 10, 2007

What's the opposite of a procrastinator?



I was fascinated by this comment from Scott Adams, over on the Dilbert blog.

A reader asked if Scott ever had problems with procrastinating. Scott's answer was, "No, I am whatever is the opposite of a procrastinator."

Well, of course, I was intrigued by this. What is the opposite of a procrastinator? Those of us who are procrastinators know what we are. There's a word for us.

What about you non-procrastinators? What do you call yourselves? And if there's not a word for non-procrastinators, does that mean that the majority of us are procrastinators?

Because it seems like if there were a word, Scott Adams would know it! I did a halfhearted search on Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com, but "procrastinator" is barely even recognized as a word. And when you look up "procrastinate," the antonyms are "hurry," "hasten," and "rush." So would that make a non-procrastinator a "hurryer" or "rusher"? That's just nonsense. "Expediter/expeditor" isn't bad, but that's already being used.

So, jump in here with your thoughts. What's the opposite of a procrastinator? I'm dying to know.

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21 comments. Please add yours! :

Carrie S. said...

I would love to know what a non-procrastinator is so it will give me something to strive for!

One Little Monkey said...

A decider? Like our president? *giggle*

Um, seriously though... "go getter"? It doesn't quite have the same punch as procrastinator, althought it does bring to mind someone on the move.

Tony said...

Opposit of procrastinator? Freak of nature. How about focused since that isnt what I am when I procrastinate.

Lisa said...

You guys are good. Some of the Dilbert readers have come up with some good ones: concrastinator, precrastinator, anticrastinator. . .

I even got an e-mail from a "bot" this morning with an answer for me, although it was a repetition of what I had already posted. :-)

Domino said...

I've been looking for this one too for a long time. I tought of "justdoitor"... But we need a word that is inspiring. What about Proactor or Protractor?

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Heh - "justdoitor"! And of course "protractor" is brilliant. :-)

ctbarton said...

Simple it is zealous activist or activator. Break the word down in syllabuls and do the opposite. Carey Barton

NewWorldOrder said...

There is no such thing as not procrastinating. We're always procrastinating on something.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I think that is the sad truth.

bill said...

My wife hates to procrastinate doing anything that needs to be done. The best word for this condition was mentioned above: antiproctrastinator.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your input, Bill!

petrenkov said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read the article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Best regards
Steave Markson

Andrea93 said...

Id say a person who is the opposite of a procrastinator is focused. So id come up with the word focuser lol :P

Nick Reynolds said...

I think I have an interesting perspective on this. I actually got to thinking about this subject because I had some free time at work and was using it to do a little research on procrastination for my girlfriend (a notorious procrastinator). I believe my perspective is unique because I am the epitome of the anti-procrastinator. When I receive an assignment I begin to experience anxiety over the task at hand regardless of how far off it is. I recently finished grad school and many of my classmates were shocked when we would discuss final papers literally months before they were due and I would be at the point where I just needed to do a proofread or they were finished (our school was on a quarter system so classes were 10 weeks long and I once finished all the assignments for an entire class in the first week just so I wouldn't have to worry about it and could focus on my other coursework). Additionally, I was taking an econ class with my girlfriend and our professor (a horrible procrastinator) was especially late getting us a problem set one week. I was on one of my first dates with the girlfriend that week and she said it was like I wasn't even there, completely spaced out, only talking about the problem set I knew was coming and wondering about what would be on it. She has since learned that there is little point in doing anything with me if I have an important task at hand. One interesting trade-off with this need to not have outstanding assignments EVER is that I generally completely ignore the learning process (I wont do assigned readings unless I am going to be quizzed on them or be forced to report on them). I am entirely concerned with the end result and not about benefiting or learning from the experience and often find myself researching random information (because I love learning new things) instead of learning something assigned (because it feels like a task that I will then feel the need to finish immediately). While I have certainly gotten better at my interactions with my procrastinating girlfriend, I still feel the same pressure and anxiety over her work, often subconsciously starting to nag her about getting work done until she gives me a reminder that its not mine to worry about and to "back off." I have a tendency to do this with anyone I'm close enough to to make it not awkward. I wanted to share this to add to those comments that suggest that it is not necessarily a positive thing. While this anti-procrastination has actually helped me be fairly successful in life, it has also been the source of a great deal of stress for both myself and those around me. I wish there was more research on this phenomenon because I would certainly benefit from it.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Nick! I think you have a separate anxiety issue which is triggered by your desire to finish tasks in a timely manner. I would suggest talking to someone about that. And believe me, I understand anxiety -- I wrote a four-part series here on the blog which later became an e-book about my own anxiety and panic attacks. It's way too stressful to live the way you're living and you don't have to wait for there to be research on procrastination anxiety to do something about it. I really do recommend talking to a therapist for some perspective. Therapy was immensely helpful for my anxiety. Those of us who suffer from anxiety have different triggers, but the anxiety is the same and can be managed!

Rome Amerch said...

ProActivator!!!!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Best one I've heard yet, Rome!

Kate Bye said...

From Rita Emmett in her book "The Procrastinator's Handbook" she says that the word crastinus means "of tomorrow" in Latin - so that a procrastinator is someone who favors tomorrow. She says that the opposite would then be an anticrastinator. However - the Latin word for "of today" is hodiernae - does this mean that the opposite of a procrastinator would be a prohodiernator? This does not roll off the tongue very well... Anticrastinator - at least it sounds cool...

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Anticrastinator sounds good to me!

Sarah Simpson said...

A proactivator, of course! ;)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Love it!

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