• Think back to your days in post-secondary education: were you the type who kept up with your class readings? Did you start studying well in advance of the exam or did you approach your studying with a plan but cram the night before? How you studied back then might well have been effective, but how can you translate those skills into the workplace to work smarter? This post is the last in a series that covers three types of people: the study as you go-er, the last-minute crammer,
    and the procrastinator. Let’s consider the procrastinator.

The procrastinator
Procrastinators do not even think about starting a task until they feel the urgent stress of a deadline on their shoulders. These types of students are usually found anywhere but the library or study hall, and many feel compelled to clean their rooms, do laundry, exercise, or poke around on social media. While the procrastinator is purposely looking for things to do other than study, the crammer has already visualized how he or she will study and how much time is needed to get there.

Hallmarks of a procrastinator:

  • Fast-approaching deadlines are needed in order to get motivated to study
  • Intense need and drive to complete any other tasks prior to studying to clear the mind (often in the form of exercising, tidying a work space, and completing personal communications)
  • Once other tasks are completed, the learner adapts study methods to how much time is remaining
  • Fast-approaching deadlines drive the motivation to study; no study plan is devised until all other tasks are complete

In the workplace, this style needs to be modified. If your colleagues or managers frequently find you addressing personal email, surfing the Web, or find that you haven’t really thought about the task at hand, you might find yourself on the slacker list—or unemployed. If you find it difficult to focus, arrive early to work or set aside a few minutes each morning to clean your work space and take care of any personal matters that on your mind so you can focus on your work. You might also want to give yourself deadlines in advance of your project’s due date. Break up the project into steps and commit to sending the various components by certain days to colleagues for their review. This will enable you to harness the effective stress of being motivated by a tight deadline while still leaving time for revisions and finessing.

However you learn and work best, be sure that your style does not negatively affect your team members or the next person in the project flow.

The exam
However you learn and work best, be sure that your style does not negatively affect your team members or the next person in the project flow. During the “exam” (or important meetings or task), try to sit in the same place you usually do and it will help you to recall the material. Be sure to take a deep inhale and exhale before speaking or completing your task, and come prepared, both mentally and physically.

As a student, I was definitely a last-minute crammer, but I also did simply procrastinate from time-to-time. Thankfully, given my role as an editor and proof reader, my ability to memorize and adjust my working strategies to deadline has proven to be highly effective in my work. Since my role is often called upon when those who came before me in the chain of production have already missed their timelines, I am able to buckle down, work tediously, and work smart to meet the deadline. This also means I can produce high-quality work in a short amount of time, making it more cost-effective for my clients.

How do you work best? What methods do you find effective in your work?

All the best to all the students out there. Study smart. Study hard. You can do it!