Sunday, April 21, 2024
Speak Your MindDecoding procrastination: The last-minute paradox

Decoding procrastination: The last-minute paradox

Mastering the art of performing well under pressure is a key attribute that sets apart exceptional job candidates. Employers seek individuals who can consistently deliver work of the expected quality and speed, adhering to designated timelines. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this is a skill that eludes many. However, there are a select few who possess the remarkable ability to think clearly and plan effectively even in the face of intense pressure, ensuring timely and satisfactory outcomes.

During my time working in Ethiopia, I have noticed an intriguing paradox. While a significant number of individuals struggle to produce quality work within the required timeframe, it is ironic that many prefer to postpone their assignments until the eleventh hour. The underlying reasons behind this behavior have always puzzled me.

Is it a consequence of laziness, poor planning habits, or simply carelessness? Or could it be that these individuals thrive on the adrenaline rush that accompanies working against the clock, using it as a catalyst for motivation? I cannot definitively answer these questions. However, what I have undeniably observed is that leaving tasks until the last minute rarely yields the desired level of excellence.

As a former undergraduate student in a local university, I vividly recall the phenomenon of students immersing themselves in their studies only a couple of weeks prior to exams. The library would transform into a chaotic battleground, with finding a single available chair becoming a Herculean task. The already limited supply of books would dwindle even further during those final weeks leading up to the exams. Some students even resorted to hiding the few available books, fearing they would be snatched away by their peers.

Needless to say, such behavior is unacceptable. In essence, pandemonium would reign.

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Wouldn’t it have been far more sensible to commence studying right from the beginning of the semester?

This leads me to contemplate the root causes behind people’s inclination to toil diligently solely in the eleventh hour. Why is it that numerous employees prefer to relax during the initial phases of an academic or work period, only to frantically rush to meet deadlines as time dwindles?

In my personal opinion, the primary culprit, especially within organizations, is a lack of effective leadership. Genuine leaders and competent managers are those who ensure that every minute spent by their employees is utilized with utmost efficiency and productivity. They not only formulate well-crafted plans but also demonstrate unwavering dedication in overseeing each step, regularly monitoring progress, identifying and resolving bottlenecks encountered along the way.

The reason employees procrastinate is because they lack a leader who is resolute enough to prevent tasks from being postponed. Ironically, it is often the leaders themselves who succumb to the allure of procrastination.

What is truly frustrating is the undeniable fact that these leaders or managers with poor planning skills expect their employees to deliver high-quality work within unrealistically tight deadlines. Naturally, individuals strive to do their utmost within the given time frame, but the undeniable truth remains that the quality of work produced inevitably suffers. And who can honestly blame the employees for that.

////One of the skills that distinguishes a job candidate as excellent is their ability to perform well under pressure. Employers seek individuals who can deliver work of expected quality and speed within the designated timeline. In my opinion, this is a quality that not many possess. However, there are a few who can think and plan clearly even under pressure, successfully meeting expectations in a timely manner.

From my experience working here in Ethiopia, I have observed that while many individuals struggle to deliver quality work promptly, ironically, many people prefer to procrastinate and start working on their assignments at the last minute. I have always wondered why. Is it due to laziness, poor planning habits, carelessness, or perhaps the need for an adrenaline rush that comes with working under tight deadlines? I don’t know for certain. However, what I do know and have witnessed is that one rarely achieves the expected quality of work by procrastinating until the last minute.

As a former bachelor’s degree student at a local university, I recall that many students would only become engrossed in their studies a couple of weeks before exams. Consequently, the library would be overcrowded during that time, making finding a single chair a daunting task. The already limited number of available books would become even scarcer in the weeks leading up to the exams. Some students would even resort to hiding the books in fear that others would take them. Naturally, this behavior is unacceptable. In short, chaos would ensue. Wouldn’t it have been much easier to start studying right after classes began at the beginning of the semester?

This leads me to wonder: what is the underlying cause behind people’s inclination to work diligently only in the final moments? Why do many employees spend their initial academic or work periods relaxing, only to rush their deliverables at the last minute? Personally, in organizational settings especially, I believe the main reason for people lacking motivation to consistently deliver quality work throughout the entire duration is a lack of effective leadership. In my opinion, good leaders or managers are those who ensure that every minute their employees spend at work is utilized effectively and productively. They not only establish well-articulated plans but also display a strong commitment to overseeing each step, regularly monitoring progress, identifying bottlenecks, and providing support to address any obstacles encountered. Employees procrastinate because there is no leader who is dedicated enough to prevent tasks from being delayed until the last minute. In fact, it is often the leaders themselves who prefer to procrastinate.

What I find most frustrating is that these leaders or managers with poor planning expect employees to deliver high-quality work within unrealistically tight deadlines. Naturally, individuals strive to do their best within the given time frame, but the delivered work’s quality will undoubtedly suffer. And who can blame employees for that?

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