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A Job Worth Having

A Job Worth Having

Although people have obvious financial needs that are a large part of what makes them seek employment, the money side of work doesn’t go far in making a job feel like something worth doing. It won’t make up for a job that is frustrating, boring, inconsequential or just plain dull.

People want more from their work. They want to be able to meet some at least of their other needs: for good social contact, for a sense of achievement, a feeling they’re doing something worthwhile, the sense of belonging to an organization they can feel proud of — even a sense of self-worth and meaning in life.

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It’s a sad fact many people find themselves disappointed in this side of their working lives. Maybe they began a job with high hopes, but now feel let down. Perhaps the work hasn’t lived up to the promises they were made during the recruitment process. Maybe there’s been a change in management and the new style of doing things no longer provides the pleasure they used to get before.

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Here are some questions it’s worth pondering to help decide whether those all-important intangibles of corporate culture and working environment will match up to your needs. Whether you’re thinking of a new job, or wondering if what you have is still what you need, it’s worth taking a little time out to run through this simple checklist.

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  1. Is the organization a community where people share the task of producing something most of them truly believe in? Or is it a profit-obsessed, hard-driving labor-camp, where rewards are high because there’s really nothing else on offer?
  2. Can you see whether managers and leaders work through trust and respect? Many organizations are command-and-control cultures where there’s little or no trust given or expected. If you don’t trust others, that may not matter. If you do — and you want to be trusted in return — it will drive you crazy.
  3. If people talk about a “team environment,” check what this means. Does it mean people happily work together when they should, and apart when that is more appropriate? Or is it a crime to stand out in any way, and a hanging offense to express dissent or question the view of the ruling majority?
  4. Does work/life balance mean employees are allowed to find suitable ways to balance job and non-job demands? Are there options like home working, flexible hours, agreed absences for family needs? If you exercise these options, will you be marked down as “not committed?” Some organizations have schemes for time off when it’s needed — but heaven help you if you ever make use of them.
  5. How does the company assess performance? Do bosses get to know their staff and work with them to achieve the best they can offer? Or is it the dreaded annual appraisal — that pointless ritual where people are coldly judged and usually found wanting? Worst of all, do they say they’re “results-oriented” and mean that you either “make the numbers” or make your way out of the building as quietly as possible?
  6. How all-pervasive are corporate politics? You won’t find an organization with none — that’s too much to expect — but the impact of politics varies from about what you would expect in any group of people to something that strongly resembles Soviet Russia under Stalin. Academic jobs are typically the most political of all.
  7. What does “commitment” mean? Is it being involved, loyal and giving an honest day’s work in return for your pay? Or does it mean selling your body, mind and soul to the corporation and never questioning any demands it places on you?

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. Nor am I suggesting that you should seek a particular type of company to work for. One that would drive me insane might be exactly what suits you best. Even the most macho and demanding organizations have their admirers who wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. All that matters is that you should go into a job with your eyes and mind open, knowing what to expect and ready to work in that environment as happily as you can.

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Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2019

Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

So what changed?

I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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How to Tackle It?

Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

How to Tackle It?

Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

How to Tackle It?

Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

How to Tackle It?

It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

How to Tackle It?

Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Bottom Line

I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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