PMP® Exam Preparation – How to beat procrastination and get certified in shortest possible time?

January 31, 2017  Saket Bansal

Are you thinking of Earning PMP® credentials for many years? Do you come up with endless reasons for not being able to do it? Perhaps, you are not alone. I am in the profession of helping people get PMP Certified and I come across many such cases every day. People give all mundane reasons for the endless postponement.

PMP is an important milestone of your career and if you believe, then you need to do something quickly. All your reasons are genuine and important. This is how a general week go for an IT Professional. Some of you may be spending even more time.

You are not lazy, you are busy

Jobs are becoming demanding in terms of number of hours you put in as well as requirement of advancing your skills.

If you are in a hardcore technical or management profile, it’s even difficult for you, your job is demanding, you need to put in more number of hours as compared to an average profile, the programming language you are using at this moment will be obsolete in three years.

This is how a typical work week looks like if you are someone with 5+ years of experience and working in an IT industry in metros like Delhi/NCR, Bangalore or Pune. On an average you are giving 50+ hours in a week for your professional commitment, around 20 hours for commuting and related activities which are not counted against your professional commitment (Perhaps this is the price of poor infrastructure!)

Most human beings work in a similar fashion. When its a choice between something urgent right now and something important for the future, we go with the former.

We are in the first month of 2017, do you remember making some resolutions on 31st December? 1/12th of the year 2017 has passed already, what actions you have taken till now? I bet, None!

Your job stability and future growth is directly proportional to the skills you upgrade now.

Multiple skills are in demand, Project management, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Scaled agile to name a few! Are you learning Agile and Kanban and at the same time trying to finish PMP?. In lean world this is called “Too Much inventory in process”, and nothing finally comes out. This is the state where you lose motivation to go further.

So the question is how to beat procrastination in PMP exam? In my view it is all about evaluating cost of delay and cost of effort needed for PMP® preparation. In simple words understanding of what you are losing by not doing PMP® exam against what effort you need to put for exam preparation.

Develop Awareness of Cost of Delay (Make it Look Big)

  1. Clear your thoughts in what is possible get from PMP® Certification, I advice participants to be clear about what they want to achieve from PMP® certification. This will also make it clear on what you lose by not doing it.
  2. Limit you Work in Progress Items, when you limit your initiatives you also become more aware about the delay faced in initiatives since you can see that non completion of current initiative is blocking your next initiative. So you may decide that you will not work on more than 3 learning projects at one point in time and since you need to start something new you need to get PMP® out of my table.
  3. Commit publically about doing PMP® , it’s like share your target timeline with friends and make this public so it puts pressure on you , mean delay beyond this will make you look bad in front of many people so it increases the cost of delay. (Share it with your Mother-in-law if you have one!)
  4. Commit publically about doing PMP® , it’s like share your target timeline with friends and make this public so it puts pressure on you , mean delay beyond this will make you look bad in front of many people so it increases the cost of delay. (Share it with your Mother-in-law if you have one!)

Develop Awareness of Cost of Action (Make it Look Small)

  1. Prioritize your Learning Material. Enrol with reliable PMP learning institute and do not get into the mad race of looking all possible material available on internet on PMP® exam. We need work hard and smart. To our clients I always recommend not to get distracted by reading n number of books n number of time. For our customers your primary source of learning is our PMP® videos.
  2. Do not take PMP® as memorization task, make it as close to your current work profile and take it as a way to improve your daily work performance as Project Manager. Make your preparation as an effort of improving you as Project Manager and let the PMP® certificate come out as by Product of it.
  3. Limit your interactions in PMP® related groups, many time you end up spending more time in showing that you know something rather than putting effort in preparation.
  4. Limit your time investment by putting time box for exam, decide the target date and do a backward planning. In my view its better to give the exam on target date even you fail than postponing the target date multiple times.
    If you fail in first attempt, it may look bad to you, but guess what, its better than missing your commitment multiple times, in second option you will lose the motivation sooner.

Case in hand

One of our client Pradip Ghosh has been struggling with a similar problem since last six years. He is an iZenbridge customer and has completed multiple certificates in Agile but PMP. Here is the entire conversation, I am sure you will be able to relate to this in your life.

Recently I had conversation on this topic with Pradip Kumar Ghosh. The conversation starts with Pradeep sharing how he has been delaying PMP® Exam preparation for more than six years. Pradeep is iZenBridge Customers from last four years, and he has done many Agile related certification programs with us. You may find this conversation insightful.

The best way to go from here? Declare your PMP Exam date in the comments below. Take this challenge now and I am sure you will beat your procrastination and come back with flying colours.

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IT Experience and Achievements: He is a Software Product Development and Management professional with an experience of 15 years to back with. With Strong IT base, Saket has developed various online portals including client server using.Net, ASP.net, C#, Java, Oracle, PowerBuilder, Google Web Toolkit, cloud and OOP concepts. He specializes in system architecture, design patterns, and database design. Certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP)® certified, PMI USA PMI-ACP® certified, PMI® USA CSM, Certified Scrum Master from Scrum Alliance CSP , Certified Scrum Professional from Scrum Alliance SPC , Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Program Consultant from Scale Academy ITIL V3, EXIN
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