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Posted August 12, 2016 by

8 pros of procrastination your future boss will appreciate

Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

Meet the most successful procrastinators in the world. Steve Jobs is known to be a chronic procrastinator.   Bill Clinton famously always left the final revision of his speeches until the last minute, causing his aides a lot of angst and stress.  Frank Lloyd Wright once procrastinated on a commission for almost a year.  He finally started the job when he got word that his patron was driving out to visit and to see his progress.  He completed the work in the time it took to drive to his home, and it became the great masterpiece “Fallingwater.” The famous screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (of “The West Wing” fame) procrastinates to such a degree that he sometimes gives actors their scripts in the middle of the show.  In fact, despite its bad rep, many argue that procrastination is a hallmark of creativity.

It’s difficult to believe this philosophy when we have been so thoroughly indoctrinated to perceive procrastination as a flaw. There have been hundreds of self-help books and articles dedicated to helping people overcome it. However, procrastination is actually a very complex issue without a simple explanation.

To fully understand why someone procrastinates, we need to look at other activities that person engages in while avoiding tasks, as well as the nature of the tasks that s/he avoids.

According to successful entrepreneur Paul Graham, there are three different categories of procrastination, which are classified based on the activities that you engage in instead of doing a designated task:

  1. You do nothing,
  2. You do something less important, or
  3. You do something more important.

So if you are a Type 3 procrastinator, this can actually be very beneficial!  Instead of grocery shopping or showering (eek!), you may be composing beautiful music or creating a great work of literature.

The reality is, whether good or bad, it’s simply human nature to procrastinate.  As such, we need to find ways to accept it and work with it instead of trying simplistic and ineffective ways to squelch it.  But how to explain that to a future employer?  It’s safe to say that bosses are not impressed by procrastination.  It’s commonly viewed as a sign of laziness, disorganization, and unreliability.  Some of these things may be true, to a degree.  However, it’s only fair to list some of the positive aspects of procrastination, to show how procrastinators can be characterized as passionate, driven, and highly creative.

  1. That Burst of Energy

What is the main reason we put off doing a task?

Because we don’t want to.  It’s that simple.

We put off tasks that we don’t enjoy doing, usually things that are difficult, unpleasant, or just plain boring.  Because of our lack of motivation, we don’t have much energy to accomplish these tasks.  The fear and adrenaline rush of a looming deadline suddenly gives us that energy we’ve been lacking.  In fact, this is one of the many hidden motives of procrastination.  When there is not much else to motivate, fear can always be counted on to do the trick.   The fear of consequences for missing a work deadline is indeed a powerful motivator.   This fear releases adrenaline, which naturally kills our pain and makes this otherwise painful task suddenly much easier. So procrastinators are actually pretty smart.  They are using their natural instincts of fear to gain the burst of energy they need in order to accomplish an unpleasant task.

How to make this “hidden” benefit of procrastination seem appealing to an employer?  Show him/her that you always get the work done on time even if it may be at the eleventh hour, and that you bring much more passion and energy to it than someone who does the job just so they can tick another item off their list.

  1. I Work Better Under Pressure!

How many times have you heard (or used) that excuse?  Well, it turns out that it may be true.

One of the greatest enemies to a procrastinator is distraction.  Email messages, social media notifications, phone calls, friends dropping by to chat:  we will seize on any or all of these things as a valid reason for not completing a task.  But if it’s the last possible minute, we have no choice but to deliver a laser focus to the task.  We will turn off our phone and sign out of Facebook in order to make sure that we can get it done.  And research shows that this kind of anxiety activates the part of our brain that heightens awareness so that we provide peak performance when there is something at stake.

And what to tell your boss about this one?  Show him/her that you have the ability to give such focus to a task that it can be done very well and thoroughly, even if it is the last minute.

  1. Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Here is a hidden benefit to procrastination:  if you have less time, you get things done in less time.  By avoiding tasks that we don’t like, we ensure that this unpleasant, boring, brain-draining chore will only be in our lives for a short time.  That translates into more time spent on things that we enjoy.

And from the perspective of our employer, that means he/she can count on us when the pressure is on to get a task done quickly… because we’re used to that.

  1. I Haven’t Made a Decision Yet

Decision-making is one of those unpleasant tasks that we like to postpone.  But as it turns out, there may be very good reasons for this.  Giving yourself time to gather and process all the information and absorb new ideas can actually lead to unexpected insights and better decisions.

And from your employer’s standpoint, what’s not to love about an effective decision-maker?

  1. I’m Secretly a Creative Genius

Creative ideas take a long time to percolate. Da Vinci took 16 years to paint the Mona Lisa  because he kept getting distracted with other tasks.  It turns out that these “distractions” (such as experiments with optics) ultimately made him a much better painter.

While it’s not very realistic to expect your employer to give you 16 years to complete a project, it’s useful to recognize that some of the greatest, and most inspirational, accomplishments are also those that take the longest.

  1. Maybe I Just Won’t Have to Do It

This is the secret hope of every procrastinator.

“If I put it off long enough, maybe someone else will just do it instead.”

Well, in the workplace, this actually happens sometimes.  Eventually if that task keeps getting shoved farther and farther down your list, someone else may just step up and get it done, relieving you of what you had been dreading…thus freeing you up for jobs that offer you more inspiration.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, this can actually be seen as beneficial in the workplace.  More time for you can translate into more important tasks getting accomplished.

  1. A Job Well-Done… Kind of

For many procrastinators, the fear of failure is so severe that it causes them to leave a big task until the last possible minute.  Then, any inadequacies in the finished product can be blamed on a lack of time.  It forces those of us who are chronic perfectionists to give in and say:  “This is really the best I can do.”

I would say that any employer should be happy to have a staff member who will go to great lengths to avoid failure. Perfectionism is a desirable trait in an employee.

  1. Fewer unnecessary tasks

Very often, we are postponing tasks because they do not fit with our larger goals, our hopes and dreams for the future.

By postponing these non-essential tasks, we are leaving ourselves free for the work that really matters to us.

This can make us a more desirable employee because of our ability to prioritize.  We are able to accomplish the greater vision of what our job entails because we are not bogged down in petty details.

So… It’s Okay That I Procrastinate?

The bottom line is, whether good or bad, okay or not, procrastination is a complex behavior, and it will not just magically go away.  Therefore, it’s best to use it to your advantage.  There is definitely a strategy involved in “good” procrastination.  Use it to help you motivate or to reduce the time that you spend on routine tasks, so that you can spend more time on the things that really matter.

A little procrastination for the right reasons can be beneficial.  But make sure that when it comes to high-priority projects, you plan ahead and give yourself deadlines along the way to produce that energy-boosting adrenaline rush.

And put that awesome, crazy, procrastinator energy to work where it counts.

Want more tips about how to make your defects and quirks work for you in the workplace? Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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Samantha Wilson, guest writer

Samantha Wilson, guest writer

Author Bio:

Samantha Wilson is an irrepressible writer from http://www.essay-writing-place.com/. She is passionate about languages, cats and books. A favorite phrase of her father has become her guideline in life: “Every book is like a string of your heart – once you touch it, you will always remember the feeling”. Don’t be shy to write a line to her on Twitter.

Posted January 04, 2016 by

4 habits to drop before your job search

During January 2016, College Recruiter will publish content designed to assist college students seeking either entry-level jobs upon graduation or summer internships. For more information about January’s focus, check out “Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan.

Guest articles published in January will cover various topics to assist students who are either about to graduate and search for their first full-time jobs or who are searching for summer internships.

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

1) Not being able to work as a team

In college, students are often competing with their peers for honors or accolades. Most college students absolutely dread group projects, feeling that it’s unfair that they will all be graded together. This is a habit new graduates should drop immediately upon commencement.

In the job market, employees will be expected to work as a team pretty much every day. Although there will be some independent work, for the most part, departments will be judged on what they can accomplish together. Companies are thinking about their bottom lines and want to make sure deadlines are met and profits are made. Remember, there is no grading in the workplace; however, there will be the opportunity to move up in the company or be asked to leave it altogether.

2) Not taking time to climb the ladder

In college, freshmen become sophomores and sophomores become juniors in one year. Climbing the ladder in college is automatic, and students go from being totally inexperienced to being the oldest and most experienced in about four years.

In the workplace, climbing the ladder will take longer. Automatic raises are no longer standard, and employees may not be able to move up the ranks due to internal circumstances within a company. Someone doing an absolutely fabulous job may not be promoted because there simply isn’t an open position, and these days a job well done generally just means maintaining employment.

Employees who want to move up within the company will have to practice patience, perseverance, and creative thinking. The reality is some companies just don’t like to promote within; thus, employees may consider moving on to a different company once they have two to five years of experience.

3) Deadlines will always stay the same

For the most part, college students can hold their professors to predetermined timelines. The syllabus provides a list of deadlines that are basically set in stone for the entire semester. If the professor has stated that a 15 page essay is due the 8th week of class, they can’t just come in one day and say it’s due tomorrow. Finals are always given during finals week.

Things will not be the same once students become employees. A company may say that a team project proposal is due two weeks from now, but the boss can come in on Monday and say that something needs to be presented tomorrow at 9 a.m. sharp. In the working world, there are tons of different factors affecting timelines and deadlines such as budgets, client needs, and other departments within a company. New employees will have to adjust to being extremely flexible with deadlines.

4) Casual etiquette

One of the great things about college is that students can show up in jeans and a wrinkled t-shirt with a giant cup of coffee in hand; as long as they participate and know what they’re talking about, they often won’t be judged any differently.

This is not so in an office environment. Although coffee will be flowing generously, employees need to follow standard workplace etiquette and show up looking professional and prepared. In addition to looking the part, new employees need to make sure they are prompt, interact professionally and politely with their coworkers and supervisors, respond to emails and phone calls within a 24 hour period (at the latest), and get along with different personality types.

In college, students can choose who they spend their time with; however, in the workplace, they simply have to get along with everybody on their team.

Robyn Scott is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

Posted August 04, 2015 by

Ten Tips For A Successful Graduate Year

Caroline Schmidt

Caroline Schmidt

For many graduates across the world, graduation signifies both the end of something and the beginning of something. For many it is the ultimate progression they have been longing for. A chance to step forward from what feels like a lifetime of learning and finally into a career. Here are some essential tips for your graduate job search success. (more…)

Posted June 17, 2015 by

Work Smart: Tips for Students to Get More out of Their Day

Female student reading a book for finding information. Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in university library.

Female student reading a book for finding information. Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in university library. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Are you working hard in class, racing to your job after school and trying to make it to an extracurricular activity during the week? Working while going to school full time means you have to work smart. Organize your time to squeeze in extra schoolwork between classes, work and fun. Here are few tips to maximize your time: (more…)

Posted April 02, 2015 by

10 Ways to Be More Productive as an Entrepreneur

Boris Dzhingarov 2

Boris Dzhingarov

If you’ve ever been inspired by Ehsan Bayat’s presentations, you may be wondering how you can make a difference, too. When it comes to running a small business or launching a new idea, productivity is key. Here are a few must-know productivity tips that successful entrepreneurs follow. (more…)

Posted February 03, 2015 by

Top 10 Internship Tips

Happy medical intern doctor writing on clipboard

Happy medical intern doctor writing on clipboard. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Most companies seek interns who are motivated and determined. About 55% of interns who successfully performed their duties are offered a full-time position. In this article we will go through top 10 internship tips. (more…)

Posted June 24, 2014 by

College Students, 7 Ways Your Jobs as Interns are Different than Your Experience in Class

For college students with jobs as interns, their expectations will vary in the workplace versus in the classroom.  Learn seven differences between these environments in the following post.

As many begin their internships and dive into the work, they quickly discover that their expectations were a little off. From what you must wear, to the demonstration of your work ethic, and all the way to how deadlines are perceived in the workplace… they are surprised how different the internship learning

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Posted November 15, 2013 by

5 Reasons Why Studying Online Just Makes Sense

Women studying together in a computer lab

Women studying together in a computer lab. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

As the recession continues to fluctuate and the job market becomes more and more competitive, it’s essential to have every edge you can when launching a new career or reinventing yourself in a new field.  Obviously, education can be just this advantage, but dedicating  four years or more to obtain a degree is undesirable for some, and next to impossible for others.  Luckily, the online education is gaining traction and redefining how we learn:  in addition to the many for-profit virtual universities cropping up, a full 77% of existing brick-and-mortar schools now offer viable distance learning solutions.  Here are five major talking points in favor of online learning: (more…)