The Problem With Working Ahead
Working ahead is okay, in the broad view of things.
I mean, it’s a really nice feeling to know that, not only are you caught up, but you’re actually ahead of schedule.
And feeling good about ourselves is a welcome change from the usual self deprecation and criticism we employ as self talk through much of our lives.
Yes, it is difficult to do. We have enough trouble focusing on the things we have to get done on time. How do we focus on something that doesn’t need to be done yet?
The answer is, we try really, really hard. And sometimes it works, but it always takes longer than we thought it would.
And when it works?
When it works, it’s good.
But while it is working, it’s hard. We have to catch ourselves wandering off mentally and even physically from the tasks that we need to perform to get ahead of schedule.
And what good is it?
The negative self talk we engage in is often very counter productive as well. We remind ourselves that schedules are live things, that just because we don’t understand time doesn’t mean it will ever stand still. The schedule will catch up to us and pass us eventually.
So we ask, as we work ahead, “Why bother? This is just going to make us feel good temporarily.”
So? Why bother?
While there is truth in the idea that we’ll only feel good about what we are doing for a short while, that could be applied to everything else we do, and we don’t let that argument stop us from watching TV, riding bikes, driving fast, self medicating, engaging in physical activity …
Bother. Do it. Bother to do things because they will make you feel good for a little while. Especially things like working ahead.
But watch the backlash
What? The backlash? Yes. Well, here’s an example. I am able to write this post and schedule it to publish on a given day at a given time. That means I could, theoretically, write three of them and schedule them to publish for the days I normally publish through the week.
And I have done that. It helps take the stress off when I go on some adventure somewhere. I don’t have to worry about getting my work done in a place where I might have trouble with the internet.
So how is that a problem?
We are people of habit. And it’s easy to form a habit of “not” doing our work. So when I get back from vacation, it’s harder than it ever was to put my head down and work. That’s the backlash.
And I just got home from vacation, so I’m speaking from current experience here.
Bet I won’t try that again …
Well, actually, I have the next four days to write posts for this week and next. I’m off on vacation again. Though I am assured of good wifi and time to write, I’m hoping to use that time to research other things.
So wish me luck. Working ahead has some rewards that make the drawbacks worth tolerating.
And if you prefer posts that are fresh, well this one is so fresh that it’s actually a little late getting here.
It’s so fresh that I just published it … now!
(author’s note: if you’re reading this later, I swear it was fresh when I said it was. KB)
Babcock, K. (2017). The Problem With Working Ahead. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 24, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2017/06/the-problem-with-working-ahead/