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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 May 06, 2016 by

Working for a startup after college

Startup business people working at modern office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

dotshock/Shutterstock.com

Everyone is nervous heading into their last year of college (except for those going to grad school, that is). It’s time recent graduates prove to themselves, and probably to their parents, that all of this was worth it; they can get entry-level jobs, get out on their own, support themselves, and start on a career path. It is probably their family’s hope that grads will conduct their job search seriously, and look at companies/organizations that promise a bright future. They’ve attended their first job fair, passed out their resumes, spoken with corporate recruiters, and some seemed interested. But something doesn’t “feel” right in their gut. There’s no excitement about all of this.

As recent graduates reflect on why they lack excitement, their minds go to the concept of a “corporate” environment with everyone playing their roles, a pretty large bureaucracy, policies, set work hours; “a single cog in a very large machine you will be,” as Yoda would say. Then there’s the office politics grads studied about in those business courses. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right. They’re thinking about their future success, which doesn’t include what the “big boys” offer. Recent grads need to look elsewhere.

Graduates need to consider working for a startup. Now their parents and some of their friends might think they’re a bit nuts. There’s no job security, as 50% of all startups fail within five years, and then where will they be? Mom may be wringing her hands. However, this isn’t their parents’ world anymore, and there are large advantages to taking this path right now in their lives when they have no obligations other than to themselves.

Flexibility and continuous learning

Most start-ups do not have “pigeon-hole” jobs. They will demand everyone pitch in when and where it is needed. Graduates may have a “job title,” but that will not mean a great deal. They’ll have a skill others may not, but they will be required to learn everyone’s job and everyone will be required to learn some of their job. This environment means continuous learning.

What’s the other great thing? Grads will be forced out of their “comfort zone” into exciting challenges; things can change on a dime, and they will need to change with them. If graduates really enjoy risks and challenges, they’ll love it.

Discover new talents

With all of the emphasis on pitching in, group decision-making, and problem-solving, recent grads may find they have creative talents and current skills they never knew or nurtured. They will be far more well-rounded in what they know and what they can do.

Learn how to budget

Pay is generally not the best for those who join startups. In fact, no one joins a startup for the salary. Graduates will often have to continue living like poor students, but they know how to do it. They’ll stretch those dollars, shop at thrift stores, and eat Ramen noodles sometimes. So what? Grads will also learn how to budget and be frugal.

Business people cheering with arms raised courtesy of Shutterstock.com

pikselstock/Shutterstock.com

Work with passionate people

Enthusiasm is contagious, and that is one of the great things about startups. Everyone comes to work excited about the day and their projects. Everyone shares in each other’s successes (and pumps each other up when there are failures). Grads, too, will be excited about getting up every morning and getting to work; many people in the corporate world would love to have that feeling.

Learn entrepreneurship

Forecasters predict small businesses will be more a wave of the future than large corporations. Why? First, corporations continue to expand globally and set up headquarters in other countries. Second, people no longer trust large corporations like they used to. These giants have taken big tumbles in recent years and no longer provide job security to their employees. It is the small business that is trending now. Working for a startup gives employees valuable experience in becoming small business owners at some point, if they should choose to head in that direction.

Push through failure

Most startups have their failures. The good ones with resilient employees move forward, learning from the failure but never losing the enthusiasm for what they are doing. It’s good to experience failure when young; it is a wonderful teacher. If that startup goes “belly up,” think of all the lessons employees have learned in the meantime.

Potentially invest or be given a stake

A lot of startups value their original people, and founders will give those people a stake in the company. Many people became millionaires because they started out with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. Having a stake in a company at a young age is a great thing.

Love the Culture

Flexible hours are a big plus. Value is not based upon the number of hours worked. It is based on what employees produce. They may work several 18 hour-long days, only to sleep in late for several days after that and only put in four hours or so.

Dress is a big factor for many job seekers. If they love a jeans and flip-flop environment, taking their dogs to work, letting their hair grow, or sporting a tattoo, they will find the startup environment is where they want to be.

Choosing the right startup

Startups come in all different stages of development. Choosing one should be based on job seekers’ level of risk tolerance, their investigation of the founder(s), and their passions for the product(s) or services being developed. Nothing is carved in stone; if one idea doesn’t work out, there are many others to try.

Need career advice as a recent graduate? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle is passionate about the self-development process and wants to share his experience with more people via his articles. He believes self-sufficiency and discipline lead to great results. Follow him on Twitter.

Posted June 04, 2014 by

Are You Just Finding an Internship? Good Advice to Keep in Mind for Your Experience

Congratulations on finding an internship!  Now, you must make the most of it.  In the following post, keep in mind some good advice for your experience.

When talking internship advice the other day, I remembered an interesting post by Carmine Gallo in Entrepreneur called, “Steve Jobs and the 7 Rules for Success”. In that piece, Gallo provided a synopsis of the seven rules Jobs lived by during his run as an entrepreneurial magician. And then I thought: what if Jobs (an intern himself

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Posted October 14, 2013 by

How to channel Steve Jobs in your classroom presentations

Amanda Richardson

Amanda Richardson, Head of Product at Prezi.com

To get top grades during the school year, students can learn a lot from the habits of legendary businessmen and entrepreneurs, like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. One of these habits is giving amazing presentations. Can you imagine being known for giving class presentations as good as those of the the world-famous CEO?

I love helping anyone–especially students –share their ideas more effectively and I think creativity is key. What I love even more is helping students be the best they can be in the classroom. So I wanted to share some tips and tricks for you to channel Jobs in your next class project: (more…)

Posted August 28, 2013 by

Discouraged in Your Search for Recent Graduate Jobs? Get a Pick Me Up from Ashton Kutcher

If it has been a while since you graduated from college and started searching for recent graduate jobs without success, the process might seem discouraging.  However, the following post includes words of wisdom from Ashton Kutcher that can give you a boost.

Ashton Kutcher gets a bad rap sometimes. When you heard he was slated to play Steve Jobs in the new movie about the legendary Apple creator, did you groan a little? Some of us did. After all, some of Kutcher’s most famous roles are playing the airheaded Michael Kelso on

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Posted August 15, 2013 by

Young Professionals, Do You Want to Be an Intrapreneur on Your Entry Level Job?

So, you may not quite be ready to start your own business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your passion into an entry level job and help your company succeed. In the following post, learn why becoming an intrapreneur may be a good option for you.

For many young professionals, corporate life is not what they thought it would be. Do you often feel you have more to offer than the job you were hired for? And you think you could do your manager’s job better, don’t you? It’s hardly a surprise that Millennials often

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