Cure for the Busy Procrastinator
“A jack of all trades is a king at nothing.” Isn’t that how the old saying goes? Well, I don’t know if I want to be a king. Royalty comes with the expensive price of heavy scrutiny and enormous responsibility. Plus, if you’re a procrastinator, like I am, you don’t need the buck to stop with you. You need the decisions made by the kings or queens of your life to take attention away from the things you haven’t accomplished…yet. This way, I can go on and accomplish a number of things simultaneously without the pressure of being perfect at one. This question still remains: How can a procrastinator become effective?
The answer is not as simple as taking a specific number of steps, as it is a matter of self-actualization. Most procrastinators will admit that they are guilty of being one, but they usually won’t admit why they’re one. You see, understanding why you procrastinate will help you reverse your weakness into a strength. Sure, your answer may not be comfortable to admit. You might procrastinate because you’re afraid of failure, or afraid of success. You might be disorganized, or you may be simply lazy.
Whatever the case may be, I believe that the answer you seek in finding success in spite of your condition lies in this one powerful concept: partnership. Find an effective partner for each of your ventures, and youll emerge out of mediocrity into royalty.
Ask Russell Simmons. He was a small-time party promoter who witnessed a new culture (called hip hop) emerging on the disco scene of New York in the early 80s. With a $5,000 loan from his mother and a partnership with Rick Rubin, Russell was able to build one of the most recognizable brands in hip hop music-Def Jam. But when you read or listen to any of his interviews, Russell admits that he is not an expert at anything. He forms partnerships with experts (producers, investors, etc.), and plays his role as a public relations person. This way both can benefit from his strength as a promoter.
And over the years, he has had a hand in a plethora of ventures; so, that makes him a jack-of-all-trades. But since hes worth millions of dollars, you call him a mogul. Im not going to lie and say that Russell is a procrastinator because Ive never heard him admit to it, but I can say that his life is a testament to the power of partnership. And if it propelled him out of the minor leagues in spite of his weaknesses, think of what it can do for you.
The key is that you have to recognize the strengths in your partners of choice that will complement yours. When Russell wanted to start a hip-hop record label, he found a talented producer who already had a burgeoning label that was begun releasing artists. The problem with most of us procrastinators is that we want too much credit as originator, executive, and creative force. If your specialty is fixing cars, find someone with a garage and organizational skills to get your business going. You have to be honest with your partner about your weakness, however, so that he or she can keep you on your toes.
Even if youre not an entrepreneur, you can use the same principle on your job. Get to know the people you labor with. You may find that the guy two cubicles down has great ideas, but he has poor presentation skills. Partner with him to make the both of you look good to your boss. You, as the awesome orator that you are, can do the presentation and share the credit. Just make sure that your partner helps you prepare the presentation, procrastinator, so that you dont find yourself cramming for it the night before.
As in the case of most sicknesses, there is a remedy for procrastination. You just have to be willing and able to recognize those who can complement your weaknesses, and give them half of the pie of opportunity. The good news is that you dont have to settle for one piece either. You can choose three or four pies, and share all of them with various, non-procrastinating people. That way, your share will end up being more than everyone elses. Then you can become the king of the jack-of-all-trades.
Mark S. Davis is a high school English teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. He is married to wife Donna for two years and has two wonderful children, Evens and Josie.