Multi-taskers endangered as procrastinators thrive

The Procrastinator

The Procrastinator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The multi-tasker is dead. Long live he or she who wears many hats.

Deadlines do not consistently accommodate chronic procrastinators. A tight schedule combined with technology that fails them in the eleventh hour occasionally undoes them.

I was thinking “Chronic Procrastinator” might be a great band name; well, maybe a good one. As much as this may be, the art of procrastination (it is an art when done correctly and with good, on time results) is best utilized like aspirin: in moderate doses.

Humans functioning in the 21st century contend daily with time limits and constraints. Words used to describe the type of person one needs be in order to meet deadlines come in and out of vogue. By some human resource department gauges for example, wearing many hats is back in while multi-tasking is out.

I specifically remember the multi-tasking as looking good on your résumé days.

“Can you multi-task effectively?”

“Um, if you wonder if I possess the ability to do several things half-well simultaneously, then the answer is most definitely and resoundingly yes!”

I have never had a curriculum vitae (CV), so do not know if it ever was good to put down “multi-tasker” on it. I suspect the “good enough is good enough” mentality still affords the placement of “effective multi-tasker” (oxymoron?) on either résumés or CVs (why am I wondering about my VW’s front end suspension (and CV boots in particular) right now?)). The reason I mention good enough is good enough is that perhaps the job you are interested in demands only being able to work on several things at once with merely adequate results. Not every employer requires superstars at each position after all. It is not proven that having a team of superstars makes it a winner.

Alex Rodriguez bats in a game on April 19, 2008.

Alex Rodriguez bats in a game on April 19, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O'Neal 1...

English: Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O’Neal 12/20/1999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look at what happened to professional sports teams that have tried to acquire superstars at every position for the purpose of making championship runs. The 2003-2004 L.A. Lakers of Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant along with the mostly year in and year out recent playoff failures of the Alex Rodriguez and name your high-priced free agent player acquisition-led New York Yankees’ teams come to mind.

Technology makes us more productive because we are able to get more accomplished in the course of 24 hours. The problem with all this productivity however, is that performance achieved creates expectations from those below, around and above us in workplace and academic settings.

Hit it out of the park on just one occasion, perhaps two and suddenly become the company’s newest four-hole hitter—expected to drive in runs and produce at high levels. This is fine and dandy, looks good on your CV or résumé, too, especially when you are unexpectedly furloughed because your answer to “what have you done for me lately?” is “not so much,” or “not as much as before.”

This is all moot to the chronic procrastinator, however, who is always driven by ego. He or she feels they can put it on themselves, on their shoulders, see it through and drive it home successfully because they are (insert your name here, chronic procrastinator)—the one and only. Chronic procrastinators are not lacking in confidence and feel technology always serves them better than the less fortunate masses of procrastinator wannabes it betrays.

Chronic procrastinators are ever aware of the sociocultural lexicon, too, and if one buzz word used to describe what they do falls out of favor, they quickly adopt another in a sign of pseudo-hipness.

English: Total CPU Time on Multi CPU Multi Tas...

English: Total CPU Time on Multi CPU Multi Tasking System (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I have worn many hats during my career as a chronic procrastinator. I often concern myself with minutia others would never think of.  As such, should current technology fail me when I need it most (read Internet outage or connectivity issues when trying to upload a story or paper), I have a plan B.

My land telephone line and fax machine stand by ever vigilantly to save my ever multiple hat-wearing, procrastination-loving, rear end.

When it is convenient, chronic procrastinators can also be Luddites.

Did you hear that swoosh of air and accompanying three beeps at the end of the swoosh?

That was the sound of deadline being met once again.


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