Look at any workplace in America, and you’ll find someone who just can’t seem to get their job done on time.
Sometimes it’s because of a lack of communication. Other times because there was never any real task definition or deadline. There are several legitimate reasons a job may not get completed – but none matter if they lead to a reputation as “the one who can’t finish a project.”
The silent career killer I speak of is procrastination. Are you at risk of becoming its next victim?
If you’re lucky, 70% of your job consists of duties that give you energy – tasks you truly enjoy. Even then, that means 30% of your job consists of things you don’t look forward to. And it’s only human nature you don’t race in to complete these things. But it’s still no excuse. Only once you understand the types of procrastinators will you be able to develop a strategy to overcome it.
Procrastinator #1 – “The Savior”
This procrastinator needs to be needed. They enjoy solving problems so much for others that they put off doing their work. Why? Because they won’t get the same acknowledgment that comes from helping others. This greater need for approval feeds procrastination.
Strategy: Put a time limit on how much time you spend volunteering to help “save” someone else. This way you have some time to finish your work and save yourself.
Procrastinator #2 – “The Perfectionist”
Some elements of perfectionism are very positive. The idea of something being just good enough just isn’t in their DNA. This high standard – although admirable – needs balance. If a perfectionist doesn’t have all the information, or they are not convinced that it will be “right”, they tend to put it off until it IS “right.”
Strategy: Break the project down into pieces so you can start with a good outline. Set the realistic expectation that it won’t be perfect the first time.
Procrastinator # 3 – “The Worrier”
The worrier can’t help running every possible scenario through their head, drawing several different conclusions. In general, they focus on how the project could go wrong. Even if they have the right information, they become paralyzed with too many possible outcomes from completing the project.
Strategy: Shift your mindset. Understand that by not making a choice, you are making a choice. Seek out and partner with a decision maker.
Procrastinator # 4 – “The Crisis Junkie”
This procrastinator always waits until the last minute to try and complete a project because they get an adrenaline rush out of it. They believe they do their best work under pressure, and have an addiction to living on the edge. The problem is that this self-destructive behavior can ultimately lead to career suicide.
Strategy: Break the project down into a series of smaller deadlines and make yourself accountable with a coworker you trust.
So the question is this: How will you minimize the silent killer in your career?