Productivity and time management are very paramount to a successful job search. How are you doing? Everyone postpones tasks sometimes. But if you find it’s a tendency for you in your search, it can cost you dearly, in the way of lost opportunities.
Procrastination is not an easy habit or pattern to break. Some people constantly put off to-dos because they haven’t clarified their goals. Others procrastinate out of fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, or fear of change.
If procrastination is an issue for you and a habit you’d like to break, try these anti-procrastination tips.
The one-thing-a-day strategy.
One effective way to avoid the obstructions fueled by procrastination is to establish as one of your daily to-dos, the completion of at least one task that you have consistently been putting off. This strategy may not come easy for you, so begin on a small scale, choosing a task that doesn’t seem either overwhelmingly hard or horrible.
The idea behind this strategy is to allow the sense of triumph (and relief) that comes from finishing a task you’ve been dodging, to be its own inspiration. The fact that you’ve completed the task that has been nagging at you, can motivate you to attack other tasks you’ve been avoiding.
The back-yourself-into-a-corner strategy.
This is a more assertive strategy where you make a commitment to someone other than yourself, that you will do one of your procrastinated to-dos at a certain time. This technique works best – for obvious reasons – when the failure to come through on the promise can have consequences that you’d rather not deal with.
The beauty of this strategy is that there is power in accountability partnerships, whether that person(s) be a career coach, associate, friend or family member. When you promise someone else that you’re going to do something within a particular timeline – make those five calls, edit your resume, or research a potential employer, for example – you’re more apt to deliver. And if you don’t, it’s going to be more uncomfortable dealing with the feedback and consequences than when the debate is merely in your head. In fact, ask that person(s) to pester you on the subject.
The dangle-the-carrot strategy.
This method, while quite apparent and straightforward, can be extremely successful. You simply build in some kind of reward for tackling a task that you have been putting off. It’s most effective when your “reward” is something that you wouldn’t normally do for yourself. If you have a glass of wine each evening, that is not going to inspire you to reach out to the stranger at ABC Company or tackle your LinkedIn profile after six months letting it sit idle. But if your carrot is to take a full day off to recharge and relax – something you rarely do, this can work beautifully. In the same vein, try penalizing yourself if you aren’t making the progress you’d like in your job search plan.
What tips do you have for professionals who are dealing with procrastination in their job search? How do you keep yourself on-task and productive? Please share your insights in the comments below!