An old college time sin which we all sheepishly admit to have done- Procrastination. The faster we learn to run away from this word, the easier we will find to get ourselves back on the horse. But then again, this beautifully sugar coated word, a devil in disguise, makes us all want to say that phrase- “ah, maybe I’ll try again later”.
When we use this word in a professional setting, for when we are say job hunting, the essence of the word is more dangerous than it can ever be. Job searching brings along with it anxieties of ‘whether I will get the next job in time to pay my bills the next month, whether this job will really be better than the last one or not, will I fit into the atmosphere of the job’ etc.
Finding a job for yourself is a task of great inconvenience, and the little anxieties and frustrations you face will just push you more and more into the comfortable lap of that highly feared word- Procrastination.
Since you are reading this article, I would assume it is safe to say that you are in the first stage of getting a move on with your life, and finally recognizing you need to stop procrastinating.
So here are a few more steps you need to follow to get out of that rut and get yourself the job you deserve!
Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Stuff Done:
1. Recognizing the problem:
The first step to beating yourself out of this habit is to recognize what the problem is. Now, whether you’re looking for a first job, or looking for a new job to replace your old one and have been spending a few leisurely months at home, procrastinating to get to the point is a normal reaction many of us face.
In order to get out of this inertia, you have to first know what procrastination is.
Procrastination is the habit of postponing a timely and relevant activity until another point of time or day. This can be done in many ways, such as by creating a diversion for yourself- playing computer games, reading, taking a nap, wringing your fingers until you find a better activity to do, or convincing yourself your resume is not good enough for the job market out there.
Whatever the diversion is, you almost always completely convince yourself that this diversion is justified, and your task can wait till a later point in time. This is a very dangerous habit, as like all bad habits, even though it might seem like a temporary solution yielding high satisfaction levels, in the long run, you will beat yourself up over it.
2. Make your bed!
In an article which is supposed to be helping you get yourself out of the rut of job seeking procrastination, you might wonder what a silly point like making your bed is doing here.
Well, scientifically, this point has more powers in its simplicity than you can imagine. So what does making your bed have to do with you finding a job?
In theory, nothing.
However, the way your bed looks plays an important part in setting your mind set for the rest of the day. The unmade bed, the crumpled sheets, the warm, inviting blankets, the comfort of your soft pillows, these are just inviting you to spend the rest of your day lazing around in your haven. You may finally succumb to the soft whispering of your bed, and be tempted to lie down again. And once you do that, the routine of ‘five more minutes’ continues till you have once again reached the end of a very non productive day.
Avoid this entire ordeal by simply making your bed once you get up. It will motivate you to get things going through the rest of the day.
3. Feeling stuck is normal; you’re not the only one:
The feeling is slowly but surely creeping up to you. The pressure of being out of a job, not having an income, the fear of rejection, the fear of not being able to move forward, of being stuck in a rut. All of these emotions are working against one another and putting you in a constant state of shock.
What you must realize now is, you are not the only one feeling this. The sooner you are able to push yourself over the ledge and start the process of job hunting, the sooner you will find yourself with that job you always wanted.
Find out what is keeping you back. What fears, what pressure, what insecurities you are having? Face them. Overcome them. And walk out more confident, with your job. This gets us to our next point.
4. Remove all obstacles:
The trick to keeping your head in the game is to sit yourself down over a cup of tea or coffee, make a list of all the fears, pressures you are facing, all your insecurities, the things you need to get done to get to the next step, the things you need to avoid.
Now come to terms with all the items on your list. Yes, it is normal for you to feel pressurized. It is normal for you to be scared of rejection. If you think your resume needs more tweaking, make the changes. Do whatever you think you need to get done, and then finally come to terms with the fact that you are going to have to get out there, in the real world.
5. Make a plan of action:
Being unsure of what the next step to follow should be is what creates this attitude of procrastination, until you can figure out what you are supposed to do.
Make a plan of action that you should follow in order to get that job. Firstly, decide on the job you want to do. Draw out the potential companies you want to send out your resume to, research well on them beforehand. Tailor your resume to fit the job you are applying for. This will give you higher chances of getting the job.
A simple plan of action you could follow could be something like this:
1. Research companies and available positions.
2. Identify positions of interest and whether you meet the organization’s required qualifications.
3. Prepare your cover letter and resume according to the company’s needs. Display your ability to perform the job’s tasks.
4. Proofread and edit your application material for mistakes and corrections.
5. Submit resume and cover letter for consideration.
6. Stick to the schedule:
Once the plan of action is made, create a calendar for yourself. Once you have targeted the companies you want to apply to, and created a list of tasks related to your job search, get moving.
Create a detailed calendar plan of all the companies and tasks you want to complete, and stick to the schedule. Allow yourself breaks in between, but schedule those breaks as well; otherwise it will be very easy for you to fall back into the procrastination habit.
7. Mark the completed tasks:
Nothing is going to motivate you more than seeing your schedule actually running on track. Highlight, or mark out the tasks you have completed. This will not only motivate you, but also give you a sense of satisfaction, of being on the right track.
8. Set Aside a Break Time:
Sometimes, you need time off from your tasks for refreshing. Taking little breaks in between to rest, distract yourself, or even rejuvenate is an extremely important part of job hunting.
Your body needs some time to recharge, just like the battery of your laptop. Create little break times between your work for yourself, decide on the length of your breaks, and stick to it. It is very easy to get distracted and fall into the old habits again, so make sure you keep a check on the length of your break timings.
Procrastination doesn’t mean you’re lazy, especially if you engage in another productive activity. Productive, here is the key word.
9. Break down tasks:
More often than not, procrastination occurs because you feel too over whelmed with the sheer amount of tasks needed to be done. This is a normal human reflex.
The way to overcoming this feeling of being overwhelmed, is to break all your tasks into mini-tasks. Complete a small task, take a five minute break, then go on to the next task. In this way, you don’t feel over burdened with work to be done, and you can see yourself completing the mini tasks successfully, giving you a sense of accomplishment.
For example, if you need to write a resume for your next job, instead of keeping “Write My Resume” as an entire task in itself, break it down into little mini tasks. One mini task being- write out the bullet points for your position. Another mini task being – design a template for the resume.
Create mini tasks in this way, and you will get to your goal much easier, without feeling too overwhelmed.
10. Remember to set deadlines for these mini tasks:
As it is our second nature to get distracted and procrastinate our work, setting these mini tasks might sound like a good idea, until you see yourself starting to take a little too much time in completing one mini task.
Procrastination of the mini tasks is also a legitimate worry, so be sure to set yourself deadlines to complete these mini tasks. Think of yourself to be in a game, and each task must be completed in a certain amount of time to get to the next level. Try and not take too much time to complete one mini task, as the whole point of the routine would then be useless.
11. False optimism feeds procrastination:
You always seem to manage to convince yourself, that ‘later’ is a better time to try. Why do you think you do that? If you are feeling stressed out about the job hunting process, acknowledge this stress. The only way to move forward is to acknowledge when something is stressing you out. Talk to someone about it, or reason out with yourself.
Clear out all the stress and pressure from your head and just breathe. Think about what is stressing you out, and remember how you have dealt with stress successfully in the past.
Talk to a friend or mentor about it. Someone who can help guide you through this process. Stress relieving activities are of great importance here. You need to be mentally fit and stable to get on to the next step of job hunting. Schedule fun activities for yourself once you have completed a mini task. This way you stay right on track.
Finally, come to terms with the fact that yes, job hunting is in fact a very stressful and overwhelming process. But in order to get on your feet, you will literally need to get on your feet! Procrastination will just end up creating higher stress levels for you in the future. So start slow, but use these tricks to get started.