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Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Many people thrive under pressure, or at least they think they do. You know the type (maybe you are the type), they know of a deadline three weeks in advance, promise to themselves and their co-workers that they’re going to begin work immediately, schedule an internal deadline for a final review and arrive to the deadline empty handed. The sadest part is three weeks ago that person whould have had the time to complete the project, but now their schedule has filled up so completely that they need to make the choice of pulling an all-nighter or  passing ownership of the project along to someone else (and effectively disrupting that person’s schedule).

Procrastination is not an isolated act. When you neglect to properly fix the flush handle on the toilet at home, it breaks off in a guest’s hand, not yours. When you neglect to call a partner regarding a teaming opporunity, that would-be-partner teams with someone else, weakening your advantage in winning the job. And when you neglect internal deadlines, you put unnecessary stress on your co-workers.

Why is it then that people procrastinate? Joseph Ferrari Ph.D and Timothy Pychyl Ph.D. point to three types of procrastinators (read more of their finding here):

Arousal Types or Thrill Seekers – they procrastinate to feel the rush
Avoiders – they fear failure or success
Decisional Procrastinators – they just can’t make a decision, regardless

Pegging what type of procrastinator you’re dealing with can help you to navigate around the procrastination or at least lessen it. For the arousal types, give them fake deadlines, for decisional procrastinators make the decisions for them and for avoiders, well, I have no advice for them. Fear is one of those things that can sink us all. If there’s a way to make the person feel safer in their environment that’s probably your best bet – or perhaps something better left to their therapist.

If adaptability is one of your strengths your likely not as bothered by the procrastinator. But if you’re not adaptable, it just might be time to find a new work environment.

image credit: Flickr user Sonrisa Electrica

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chocoplatterProcrastination can be helpful (sometimes). I know, it seems counter intuitive. But, over the last two evenings I’ve experienced just how helpful procrastination can be, as long as you manage it productively. Have I lost you yet? Here’s the story – for the last two evenings (maybe even more) my number one priority has been to write a contract for a new chocolate coated adventure I’m embarking on. Only I hate writing contracts, so I’m procrastinating. What have I done instead? I redesigned my website to better communicate my “two sides,” marketing and chocolate. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, and the looming contract gave me the push I needed (because designing a website is a lot more fun than writing a contract). And now that my website is done, my head is clear, and I’m ready to start that contract. That’s how I harnessed the power of procrastination. Yes, the contract is still mostly unwritten, but my website is finished and I’ve successfully refocused my energy back to the contract. If I had jumped right into the contract, then I probably wouldn’t be here telling you about my website. Instead, it would have stayed on the long list of “nice to haves.”

Interested in seeing the end product of my procrastination? Visit http://www.valerieconyngham.com and if I’ve done my job correctly, you’re likely to learn a little more about me.

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