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I thought of precrastination at first but that appears to be the act of planning to procrastinate.

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concrastination? –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Mar 1 '12 at 18:23
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I'll get back to you on this. –  Robusto Mar 1 '12 at 18:29
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procrastinate -> anticrastinate! obviously. –  JoséNunoFerreira Mar 2 '12 at 15:44
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The opposite of procrastinate is technically "PhD". But that's an abbreviation for multiple words. –  detly Mar 2 '12 at 16:00
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@detly: I would have thought "PhD" is an example of procrastination... –  haylem Mar 3 '12 at 16:07

19 Answers 19

If to procrastinate is "to put off doing something," then its antonym is anticipate — "to deal with beforehand."

So you can say the opposite of procrastination is anticipation.

If you can live with more than one word, a clearer antonym of procrastination is being proactive. Being proactive doesn't carry the extraneous associations that anticipation might for some people.

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Proactive is a much better word than anticipate, in my opinion. When I hear "John anticipates doing his homework," I get the mental image of John being excited, even happy, to do his homework each night. If I hear "John is proactive about doing his homework," then I get a much more realistic picture. –  Reid Mar 1 '12 at 21:12
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To procrastinate is "to delay something needlessly", I don't think that 'anticipate' captures the antonym. –  Ahmed Masud Mar 2 '12 at 7:11

I suggest alacrity.

alacrity noun \ə-ˈla-krə-tē\

promptness in response : cheerful readiness [accepted the invitation with alacrity]

Also precipitation means acting suddenly and rashly, bearing a negative meaning and covering the other end of the spectrum.

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I like this very much. Alacrity is a good answer here. –  Mike Brown Mar 2 '12 at 13:31
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+1 one because it is fun to say –  user14070 Mar 2 '12 at 14:04
    
Alacrity is nice, but does it have a verb form? –  Henry74 Jul 16 at 20:50

You could go with "timeliness." Notionally, "proactive" gets at the sense of the word you want, but it's the wrong part of speech.

Other candidates: advance, accelerate, complete, etc.

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+1 The relevance here is that the spirit of procrastination is in putting off something till later, timeliness is not putting off something till later, but rather doing it on time. @gnawme referenced anticipation and proactive, which are close, but the spirit with them is doing or thinking about something before it is due, rather than on-time. A little bit different. –  Bill Mar 1 '12 at 23:18
    
I think this is clearly the best answer. It's the only one that really stands in polarity on the the correct axis. –  Ben Lee Mar 3 '12 at 1:47

Prioritization

In Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" the author refers to the opposite of procrastination as prioritization in his chapter on "First Things First".

This is honestly the only word that makes sense in every day speech. No one would say to anticipate one's tasks, but it makes a lot of sense to prioritize one's tasks.

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There is indeed an understanding that procrastination is to replace high-priority tasks with lower ones. In that point of view prioritize is the perfect antonym. –  Renan Mar 2 '12 at 0:16

I like the word expedite, "to accelerate the progress of". It has a minor drawback that the form parallel to procrastination, that is, expedition, ordinarily has the sense of an excursion or voyage, and its sense "the quality of being expedite" is obsolete. However, some synonyms of expedite, such as hasten, speed, hurry, accelerate have suitable forms including hastening, speedup, speeding-up, hurry-up, acceleration that may serve.

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I believe the word you are looking for is action.

action noun

  1. the process or state of acting or of being active: The machine is not in action now.
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I sense we are lone voices in the wilderness here, but I agree. To procrastinate is to delay instead of acting, so the opposite is to act instead of delaying. When urgent problems need to be addressed, you don't need procrastination, you need action. –  FumbleFingers Mar 2 '12 at 2:21
    
Seems somebody disagrees... –  Jim Mar 2 '12 at 14:04
    
-1 To procrastinate means, yes, to delay but it does not mean "non-action". The act or deed is performed, eventually. And who said one has to procrastinate urgent problems? For example I always procrastinate doing the ironing. :) –  Mari-Lou A Jul 16 '13 at 10:08
    
@Mari-LouA Yes, I absolutely agree that it's good to justify (vocally, in a comment) downvotes. (For reasons just demonstrated.) // Not sure I follow about preference - do you mean pref in deciding 'whether this is useful' or 'what a downvote signifies'? If the former, I agree - if the latter .. meh, maybe a Meta discussion if you want to bother. –  hunter2 Jul 26 '13 at 9:11

Do. Hmm, well it won't let me answer that succinctly so I'll repeat myself: the opposite of procrastinate is do.

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Maybe industry or industriousness. Although as opposites, they imply an element of laziness exists with procrastination, and I'm not sure that's always the case.

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The opposite Greek prefix to pro- is epi-, as seen in Prometheus (forethought) and his brother Epimetheus (afterthought). So it stands to reason that the antonym of procrastination is epicrastination.

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But this is the Latin prefix, not the Greek prefix. And I'm afraid it would be odd to use "cras" ("tomorrow") to move something to an earlier time... –  Cerberus Mar 1 '12 at 21:17
    
@Cerberus: Oops, that's unfortunate. Hoist by my own octopus. –  chaos Mar 1 '12 at 21:36
    
Sticking to Latin, and taking the opposite of tomorrow, now, it should be innunctiation then (into now). I have a feeling this one is not gonna make it... –  Gert Arnold Mar 2 '12 at 10:08
    
maybe antecrastinate before tomorrow ;) –  Mike Brown Mar 2 '12 at 13:33

I propose dispatch:

: to dispose of (as a task) rapidly or efficiently

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That isn't quite an antonym. Procrastinate has an implicit referral to another time period in it. So, the opposite should carry with it the meaning that something is done in advance of when it needs to be done. Good effort though. –  James Poulson Mar 3 '12 at 6:43

What about simply "zeal" or "diligence"?

While these aren't really antonyms to "procrastination" (which is putting off doing something), they capture the opposite meaning of the ideas of "laziness" and "delayed action" that are associated with it.

zeal

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something
  • eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something

From the Oxford British-English Dictionary:

Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective

Diligence

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • persevering application, assiduity
    • Obsolete: speed, haste
  • the attention and care legally expected or required of a person (as a party to a contract)

From the Oxford British-English Dictionary:

Careful and persistent work or effort.

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+1 for zeal, it was the word that jumped to my mind on seeing the question –  sq33G Mar 4 '12 at 7:27
    
Where are those citations from? Please tell us the name of where you got those from, and if applicable, also a link. If you are going copy out text verbatim, our Help Center says that you must name where you got the original from, and this post fails to do that. Please see the question on meta entitled “What to do about missing source attributions: Copying, Linking, Attributions, and Plagiarism for discussion on this. –  tchrist Jul 7 at 22:33
    
@tchrist: fixed –  haylem Jul 8 at 8:02

Anticrastination appears to have gained some traction.

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When the first result is from Urban Dictionary, I wouldn't say that this traction is anything reliable. –  Mahnax Mar 1 '12 at 20:13
    
@Mahnax: I would be at pains to avoid that implication, yes. –  chaos Mar 1 '12 at 20:57
    
"Anti" is a Greek preposition, not a Latin one. It is true that it is sometimes mistakenly used instead of Latin "ante" (probably owing to French), but better not. And cras "tomorrow" doesn't really work anyway... –  Cerberus Mar 1 '12 at 21:19
    
Actually, I like antecrastination. It seems to imply that I'll do the job BEFORE tomorrow. Which might be what the OP wants. –  user16269 Mar 2 '12 at 7:41

Dialogue in comments has revealed that the correct Latin inverse would be antecrastination, which would mean roughly "doing something before tomorrow".

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The emotional emphasis in "to procrastinate" is the needlessness of the delay. The way I would think of antonyms would be to see what words I would use to emphasize the negation:

For example,

"Billy is diligent about finishing homework, he does not procrastinate". (Sense of duty)

OR

"Sarah procrastinates under stress, I wish she were more volitional" (Sense of giving up)

My suggestion is that you try and use it following similar idea of trying to emphasize a particular idea or thought, and see how many ways you can use procrastinate in a sentence... You'll have your antonyms.

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Two neologisms present themselves, one I like and one I don't.

One is sticktoitive. A tenacity or tendency to see things through to completion.

The other is git-r-done.

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I suggest "determination", which stems from determinare, to bring to an end, have a fixed direction and goal.

Other terms may be decisiveness, resoluteness, conclusiveness.

I might tell my minions that I want to see "action", not procrastination.

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Tersely: proactiveness or proaction, depending on the contrast and degree of anticipatory behavior you're trying to convey.

(Source.)

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(I much preferred @Lotus Notes suggestion: Prioritization.)

My proposal is:

Promptness

If we consider that procrastination is the unwillingness to perform an action which leads to its continual postponement but not necessarily to its inactivity then we can see how promptness is its exact antonym.

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Productivity

In the sense that it commonly means getting things done, as opposed to putting them off for later, which is the general meaning of procrastinate.

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protected by RegDwigнt Mar 1 '12 at 21:13

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