The word ‘procrastination’ has always been regarded as a ‘negative’ expression. It is associated with the act of ‘delaying’ something, but is that always a bad thing?
Shaking off your responsibilities until the last minute may cause unnecessary stress. However, there are things you may want to put off for a good reason – for example, looking at the weather forecast before a long distance road trip or even waiting for a sale before making a big purchase.
In terms of a career, procrastination can be used to your advantage and set you back, too! Let’s look at some ways procrastination can help and hurt your career.
Looking for a new job or making a career shift
1. Holding off on a new skill may add value to your resume
If you are currently pursuing a new skill such as digital marketing, you may want to consider putting off mentioning your new skill until you have actually gained some working experience in that particular area to be hired by a prospective employer from a different industry.
2. It may help if you have too many commitments
If you have huge personal commitments such as taking care of an elderly family member or planning for your wedding or even going on that dream family trip which you have been planning for a long time, it would be best to hold off your job search until you have dealt with these and other time-consuming things in your life. Although it is important to be transparent about your commitments, having too many heavy commitments happening all at once may be stressful and distracting to focus time and energy on your job hunt.
Applying for a new job the day before you leave for a two-week vacation in Hawaii, isn’t a great idea. Taking sufficient time to tie up your loose ends at home and at work, will make you feel so much better once you’re no longer bogged down with multiple big-ticket items!
3. Procrastination hurts your career if you wait too long to apply for a job related to a new skill you’ve acquired
Even if you do not have solid working experience to apply for a job related to the new skill you are in the process of acquiring or have gained, it is important to take that first step and put in that job application or even following up with a thank you note. By doing so, you may not run the risk of missing out on a good job opportunity!
At the workplace
1. It helps in creative endeavours
Deadlines are usually a stumbling block to creativity. In that regard, procrastination, for example, doing something else as a form of distraction away from mundane tasks can help generate good ideas. Even if you are not able to come up with the next WhatsApp today, with some patience and time you will be able to come up with innovative ideas, too!
2. It may hurt collaborative work and any co-worker relying on your input
If you are part of a team working on a project, failing to provide your input may result in your co-worker being pressed for time to meet his deadline. Worst case scenario, it will definitely hurt your relationship with that particular co-worker and even your other teammates. As far as teamwork is concerned, it is advisable to keep your end of the bargain simply because you have no idea how much time your co-worker will need to complete his part of the project. It will be a win-win situation for everyone in the team when each member pulls their weight.
1. Procrastination actually helps to keep your options open
Being selective about networking events to attend and not RSVPing immediately add value to your life to focus on building connections which are valuable to your business or line of work. It also gives you the opportunity to focus on more urgent assignments and the flexibility to take up any last-minute and exciting networking opportunities that may help the growth of your business.
If you are looking to make a career move but unsure about what it is you want to do, then it is tough to network effectively. Although you don’t have to wait to make connections that may bring you closer to your career goals, it may be beneficial to wait until you have decided what you intend to do and can communicate it well to become a valuable contact to others and equally make other valuable connections. In a nutshell, taking a breather from connection-building events is not detrimental – once you are more self-conscious of how to present yourself, then when you do meet the right contacts you will be able to position yourself for success.
2. It may hurt your career if you don’t prepare in advance to leverage on your networking opportunities or even follow-up quickly.
Building new connections and meeting new people involves preparation in order to put your best foot forward. Be mindful to practice your elevator pitch and how to present yourself and your line of work to avoid panic and unnecessary stress in the last minute. It is advisable to have a clear plan on how people can follow up with you ie by printing your business cards in advance or whether you choose to share your social media information.
Failing to follow up promptly makes all the difference between landing your dream job and a missed opportunity. It is advisable to respond to valuable contacts within two or three days after the event to ensure you are not forgotten entirely and to strengthen your new relationship. By showing that you have shared values in a particular line of work and common interests, you are forging a connection that makes it easier for a prospective employer to be convinced that you are the right fit for their business.