Seeing the results of our Are You Pre or Pro quiz, it occurred to us that not only is it worth looking at individuals’ results on their own, it’s also interesting to think about people’s pre- and procrastinatory tendencies in the context of their relationships, and how an individual’s behaviors, and the behaviors of those they’re closest to, impact each other.
This is the first post in a series on Pre and Pro Duos. Have a Pre or Pro Duo you’d like us to feature? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with details on the duo and why we should feature them. Bonus points if you’re part of the duo!
Colleague Duo: Carylyne & Emily, Preinclined Founders
Carylyne’s Type: Pre-leaning Perhapstinator
Emily’s Type: Profound Precrastinator
How We Met: We worked together at CoinMarketCap, the top cryptocurrency information site, and bonded over sunscreen, family life, and cultural differences between our home countries of Singapore (Carylyne) and the US (Emily).
How Our Working Styles Differ:
Carylyne: I consider myself a Perhapstinator, although my quiz results show that I’m a Precrastinator! The quiz is probably right, though — In most parts of my life, I tend to anticipate what needs to be done way in advance and try to make sure it’s done well before it’s necessary. However, I actively procrastinate, especially if it’s something that requires divergent thinking or insight that I need to subconsciously piece together.
Emily: I’m a classic Profound Precrastinator: If there’s something to be done, I do it right away, and I feel anxious when I have several to-do’s left undone.
Pros of Our Working Styles: Carylyne: I find it useful to be a self-aware perhapstinator/precrastinator, because it helps me think more discerningly about prioritization. When I’m on either extreme of being a precrastinator or procrastinator about certain tasks, I notice that the anxiety takes precedence over deliberate decision-making. By being aware of both tendencies, it helps me to be more intentional about what I want to achieve and how. However, I always admire Emily for her profound precrastination — She seems to be able to charge ahead on tasks super efficiently, and won’t let procrastination stand in her way! It’s what people think of when they mention productivity or discipline.
Emily: I find we’re super efficient and can make a lot of progress very quickly. Carylyne is more of an ideas person than I am — her ability to selectively procrastinate, coupled with her deep interest in and knowledge of wide-ranging topics, allows her to generate great ideas. I tend to be super action oriented, so I like to take Carylyne’s ideas and run with them (she’s excellent at the running part too!).
Challenges of Our Working Styles:
Carylyne: With my procrastination side — when not deliberate — I tend to feel guilt and underachievement when I put off something that I think I should be doing. I sometimes wonder what more I could have achieved if I didn’t procrastinate on some things. One of my tenets is to live life without regrets, so procrastinating is tough to reconcile with that. With precrastination, I have also noticed that when I try to plan out everything far in advance and do things before it makes sense, I can be wasting effort/resources, so it’s also not perfect. I suppose it’s always a tradeoff, and I’m grateful for what I have been able to achieve so far in my career and life, and I hope to constantly improve myself to better balance my preinclinations either way. Working with Emily helps give me a certain sense of momentum though, and inspires me to not procrastinate too much on certain tasks!
Emily: I’ve worked in startups for more than a decade now. I used to say that what I like about startups is that you can move as quickly as your team collectively wants to move — you’re not restricted by bureaucracy and silos the way more established companies can be. But over the years I’ve come to recognize that there are downsides to charging ahead so quickly. Doing so can lead to blinders and inflexibility, where you don’t take the time to recognize and address problems. Maybe your new product idea, or the solution you’ve come up with to a problem, isn’t quite right, or doesn’t have the audience you think it has, and you would be well served to take a step back, evaluate the situation, reconfigure, test, pivot — all the good messy startup stuff that it takes to achieve breakthroughs and build a solid, strong business. With Carylyne and I both being pre-inclined, it’s easy for us to charge ahead toward outcomes; we sometimes have to remind ourselves and each other to pause and reset.
Surprising Things That Work for Us:
Carylyne: I think that we are similar enough in terms of values and references to have consensus on most things, but different enough in terms of our experience and cultural exposure that we have varying perspectives. It’s invaluable to have these differing points of view because it means that we can bring a wide range of thoughts from various angles to tackle issues, but be able to come to a consensus on them.
In terms of approach, we’re also quite different as I tend to be pretty laissez-faire and love new ideas, theories and creative endeavors, while Emily is very structured and will think much more about how to make sure things continue to run and manage risks (though she can also be very creative, of course!).
Emily: I find our different time zones (we’re 13-14 hours apart, depending on the time of year) to be super beneficial for me. Since I’m such a precrastinator, I often don’t give myself the space to think through ideas, iterate on them, and ultimately improve upon them. Knowing Carylyne is asleep through much of my work day relieves me of the pressure to respond to everything right away and be tethered to my email. I can get started on something, take a step back, and return to it later, knowing I still have time before she comes online and sees it.
Additionally, we’re opposites when it comes to schedules — I’m an early bird, and Carylyne is more of a night owl. This works super well given our time zones, since we can work synchronously during my early mornings and Carylyne’s late nights and have a few hours of “business hours” in common for external meetings as needed.
Favorite Places to Visit Together:
Carylyne: Regrettably, we don’t actually see each other in-person very much! We’ve discussed going to see the aurora borealis/australis (Alaska or New Zealand) together at some point, but that might be a challenging endeavor for another year or two at this rate. In any case, when things get back to normal, I’m sure we’ll plan for little company outings in the US or elsewhere around the world!
Emily: While much of our relationship has been built over Google Hangouts, Notion, and Telegram, we’ve been lucky to spend time together in New York, Hawaii, and Singapore. I know Carylyne’s always up for a cup of tea and won’t give me a hard time when I’m the first to leave late-night social activities.
Pre and Procrastination Influencers:
Carylyne: Hamlet (the Shakespearean character) is a study in procrastination that I remember from my teenage years — notwithstanding the moral and psychological discussions we can have about his character, Hamlet’s dithering and waiting for the “right opportunity” causes great grief to those around him (and his own mental health). Sometimes it’s best to do something and iterate, rather than camp out for some elusive, perfect time.
Emily: I identify with the self-described precrastinator Adam Grant, but I’ve always admired my procrastinating brother, who provided my high school yearbook quote: “Make your tomorrow what your yesterday should have been.”
Carylyne: Sebastian Michaelis and Ciel Phantomhive from Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
Emily: Elizabeth and Philip Jennings from The Americans