Founder Spotlight: Adela Schicker – Procrastination.com

Editor’s Note: Adela Schicker is a co-founder at Procrastination.com, where they teach soft skills like how to make better decisions, overcoming procrastination, sales skills, leadership and lot more. They have more than 150 000 clients worldwide, and their method involves focusing on simple, useful, science-based principles. They organize workshops that are open to the public and offer an e-learning course, but they’ve also worked with companies like HP, Dell, Microsoft, and Cisco.




Adela, walk us through the last year of your life!

I was focusing on opening a new branch and getting an international publisher for our book: The End of Procrastination.

It’s now published in 6 languages, and we’ve already sold over 100 000 copies worldwide. In April, we signed a contract with one of New York’s best publishing agencies, and we are looking into being translated into other 55+ languages.I specifically focused on our online presence and e-learning – that’s definitely something I want to do more of, moving forward. Finally, I moved to Montreal from Prague with Mathias, who’s the head of our French branch, the bilingualism of the city and its closeness to the US is an incredible benefit.

Fun fact: The book became a bestseller in the Czech Republic: for few weeks, it sold even more than 50 Shades of Grey there.

 

Your job must be really fulfilling – you get to read and improve yourself by reading all of these books and research and practicing what they preach, and then you make a living by sharing that wisdom with others in-person.

The great benefit of the job is that you can grow while helping others to grow. Better self, better world, that’s our company motto. The more I know, the more I can help others, and so on.

And it’s important to note that change doesn’t happen through telling people what to do and having them blindly follow orders. I believe the only sustainable way to improve yourself is through developing your knowledge about the world, and critical thinking –  which should be taught everywhere. Your ability to be objective, to keep an open mind, and to acknowledge that we’re all biased, are all important factors that come into play. You don’t have to follow the crowd – get your perspective. If I’m a billionaire, but I’m stupid and selfish, I can’t change the world. There’s a quote by Albert Schweitzer I love: Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Adela gave a talk on how to sell, to the 2017 cohort of the McGill X-1 Accelerator.


When did you become a minimalist and why?

I’ve always had a lot of stuff, which can be annoying when you’re traveling and moving a lot. Moving here, I decided to keep all my things within one piece of luggage. I was also inspired by a great documentary on minimalism – check it out on Netflix.

I’ve always had a lot of stuff, which can be annoying when you’re traveling and move a lot. Moving here, I decided to keep all my things within one piece of luggage. I was also inspired by an excellent documentary on minimalism – check it out on Netflix.

Here’s the thing though: I don’t believe in having exactly 33 pieces of clothing or empty rooms – I adapt the parts that are useful to me. Decision paralysis is a big problem for many, but if you have limited wardrobe options, it doesn’t take you that long to decide what to wear in the morning.  And that’s why I love companies like Will + Zack – I’d rather buy one high-quality dress that’s perfect for me, than have 20 mediocre pieces from a fast fashion company that will last few weeks.



You’ve met Philip Zimbardo, known for his famous Stanford prison experiment – what’s he like?

Zimbardo’s very charming. He lives what he preaches: he’s translating his knowledge into impact with his Heroic Imagination Project, he loves signing books for his fans and talking to them. And he hugs everybody – he’s a major hugger.

He’s not just someone who’s famous because of an experiment. He’s a genuine person and represents his values. Also, he’s really funyn!

Philip Zimbardo is a psychologist and a professor emeritus famous for his Stanford prison experiment.

What are you guys working on nowadays?
We’re always covering most relevant topics in the events that we host, which are open to anyone. Whether you’re looking to improve your time-management, sales, focus, or soft skills like leadership, company culture, delegation, public speaking…we’ll help you to improve them! Every presentation is fresh; we always tailor them to fit the needs of the participants.

 

What annoys you?

“Gurus” People who pretend that they want to help you, but just want to make you a blind follower, take your money, or even worse, people who are unaware that they are doing more harm than good. That’s why it is essential to have the critical thinking I was talking about earlier, sometimes we mean good, but we are doing the total opposite.

Remember the saying: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Or the quote: “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”― T.S. Eliot

 

What are some differences you’ve found between Europe and Montreal?

The people are more open and more diverse in Montreal. The events here and the friendliness of people here are great!

On the business side, in Europe, they still need to explain why it is important to have values in a company. In Montreal, people put their values on everything – many even write it on their products and websites, and everybody talks about them openly. If you have your values as a person and as a company, you’re are on a good way to greater growth.

Adela showing off the End of Procrastination book, from procrastination.com
Purchase Procrastination.com’s e-learning course here.


Can you share some of your strategies for getting things done?

  • Write down your personal vision – why you’re doing what you do.
    • Keeping your “WHY” and values in mind helps you make better decisions. For example, some students study because of external reasons like being pushed by their parents or peers. That’s not very fulfilling. The time you spend in university is one of the great experiences of your life. But it will take you until 35 to realize this!
  • Understand that postponing things decreases performance.
    • Don’t think that if you do something at the last moment, that you’ll do better because of adrenaline rush or something like that – in fact, performance is worse on most things. People glamorize doing things last minute, but knowledge work is not an athletic event, where adrenaline improves your performance.
  • Get rid of all your distractions.
    • I like to joke that our society has many weapons of mass distraction – things like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. To get real work done, you need to have unwavering focus. Try an app like Forest, Freedom or Headspace.
  • Don’t be afraid to close some doors.
    • It will not make you weaker if you do; in fact, it will make you stronger. Accepting that you won’t become a professional swimmer or ballet dancer, can open you up to the possibility of greatness in other domains. You don’t have to be mediocre in everything – I encourage you to find something you treasure and love, and keep perfecting that. You know Jiro, the sushi master? Go and find your sushi!

      Visit Procrastination.com to purchase their e-learning course or keep up with their events, and visit their facebook page to get in touch!
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Mo Akif

The Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Dobson Chronicles. Never having started a lemonade stand as a child and tired of reading blog posts about entrepreneurship without actually doing anything, he was on the verge of giving up and joining a pyramid scheme. Luckily the McGill Dobson Centre decided to adopt him, allowing him to get a closer look at what it takes to build something valuable.