Friday, July 12, 2013

Procrastinate No More! Don't Let Fear of High Voltage Design Get In Your Way!

I’m blocked. I’ve hit the wall. I can’t seem to come up with a blog topic and it’s making me C-R-A-Z-Y!!! And so I find myself procrastinating sitting down with pen and paper.

Okay, so one solution for my blog post block, the source of my procrastination, would be to come up with a topic schedule while the creative juices are flowing. Unfortunately, I have as much difficulty with schedules as some people have with budgets, or diets. I start out with the best of intentions, but somehow deadlines – even artificial ones I create myself – still sneak up on me.

And I’m not alone.

Some researchers estimate as much as 20% of the general population engages in chronic procrastination. I’m not one of them only because I’m not a chronic procrastinator (chro-pro), but it can happen to anyone once in a while.

At a rate of 20%, chances are pretty good you’ve run across a chro-pro or two. They’re the ones who can’t choose between software option, or which component to go with. They might be the person in the office who waits until the last minute to get a sales quote out the door, or maybe they’re the one designer in the group who takes for-EVER to design a product… Maybe even you’re one yourself!

Either way, read on. Procrastinators come from all walks of life. They cut across all social-economic lines, and often are found in undergrad and post grad college programs. The problem seems to be getting worse.
“In 1978, 5% of the population admitted to being chronic procrastinators compared to roughly 26% of the population today (Steele, 2007). Surveys of student populations suggest that procrastination is pervasive with some surveys suggesting that 85-95% of students have problems associated with procrastination”
“No big deal”, you say. “College kids are supposed to procrastinate, right?!” That’s one way of looking at it, but unfortunately, those kids eventually enter the work force. And guess what?! They could end up on YOUR project team.

In an article in Psychology Today [2], three types of procrastinators are presented. The categories are based on definitions from Joseph Ferrari, PhD., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago.

According to Dr. Ferrari, the three types of procrastinators are -

1. People who work best under pressure and like the ‘thrill’ (or adrenaline rush) of a looming deadline. They are the Arousal Types.

2. People who cannot make a decision. They are the Decisional Types.

3. People who are afraid of success or failure, and generally try to avoid taking responsibility for decision-making and are preoccupied with what other people think. They are the Avoidant Types.

Some experts believe extreme procrastination poses many problems even though people tend to dismiss it as annoying but not dysfunctional. Fall–out from overly procrastinating can have serious ramifications, especially on the people around the procrastinator. For instance, if your team has one or more chro-pros, be advised they are sometimes unable to complete their tasks on time. They end up delaying or missing deadlines if left unchecked, or forcing other team members to carry more than their fair share of the work load. Everyone suffers.

One antidote to procrastination includes understanding why we do it, and addressing the underlying reasons, motives, or circumstances. It usually involves fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of looking silly, or worse.

Don’t let fear of designing with high voltage paralyze you. High voltage design has its own set of rules, and many engineers are hesitant to mess with it. We can help you over the design hurdle, especially when it comes to specifying high voltage diodes, designing power supplies, or using optocouplers.

Call us.  We’re here to help.