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Tanisha's Tips: Why Procrastination is a Career Killer

If you're lazy on the job, it'll catch up to you. Here are some tips to be a self-starter today.
True Confession: On some things in life, like the writing of this column at 6 a.m. this morning, I tend to wait and wait and wait till the last minute to get things done. Interestingly, I consider myself a planner, but I’ve noticed that taking on more work with less help (thanks to the economy) has caused me to, um, stall when it comes to getting certain tasks done. It’s led to missed deadlines, silly excuses, rushed projects and probably the perception that yeah, she’s good, but will she get it in on time? If you’re a last-minute Sally in the workplace, trust me it’s not worth it. Procrastination is a career killer of the worst kind because your team members won’t trust you, bosses will overlook you on the next big project and essentially you’ll be known as a kink in the process. And it leaves you vulnerable to people shitting on you and your work ethic. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that and it’s the worst kind of abuse in the workplace. But there’s hope. Here are a few lessons from my co-workers who get the job done quickly:
Start immediately. Right after meeting, they follow-up with key initiatives, resolutions and meeting notes. Do this not only to remove that to-do item from the list, but also because it shows the rest of the team that you are dependable and trustworthy.
Break up the task. How do you swallow an elephant? One bite at a time. This is a must for those of you who are constantly on deadline. As soon as the task is assigned, do something: write the outline, present a summary, create a to-do list. This will get you started in the right direction and it doesn’t allow the pressure of completing this humongous task to build up.
Map out a plan. Start with the end game in mind. Ask yourself: When is it due? When will I work on it? How often? For how long? Answering these questions will allow you to figure out what you need to do and when and how you will accomplish it. Another good point: Don’t create a plan you don’t intend to keep. It’s futile and an absolute waste of your time, effort and energy. If planning out the entire project is a bit too much for you, go back to doing one thing at a time and cross it off your list. The sense of accomplishment is amazing.
Enlist some help. As women, we tend to want to shoulder the weight of the world. That’s counterproductive. I know that for sure. Before going to the boss whining about how you’re doing everything, figure out how much help you need, for how long and the cost. Then present that proposal to the higher-ups. They will respect your candor and the strategic thinking. Good luck!