You know the effects of procrastination in unemployment.
It sometimes affects your ability to do mundane tasks around your home, such as the laundry. It doesn’t stop there though.
It also affects your ability to concentrate on big things, such as completing your application materials and submitting them.
It tells you to postpone your submissions. The outcome just might be another rejection, right?
Why do we put off the big things we should do? Why do we allow ourselves to feel pressure before we accomplish these tasks?
I have a one word answer: fear.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of failure.
Fear you won’t measure up and hear back from potential employers.
Fear you’re unemployable and won’t secure another position.
We fear we’re not capable of receiving the thing we want when we’ve been on a prolonged job search and have failed to land a job.
Unemployment Fear and Procrastination
These fears lead to procrastination. Though we want to do important assignments, such as, researching companies, preparing applications, and submitting them, for example, we put these things off.
I know from experience.
Upon becoming unemployed, I made job searching a habit. I was on it when it came to engaging in my job search activities – daily.
Not once did I procrastinate.
When my job search extended, however, and I had yet to land a job despite my diligence, I faced the procrastination problem.
I procrastinated when it came to preparing my resume and cover for a few positions. I read job search and career development information when I should’ve been researching companies of interest.
But, I learned to get through it. Even with some fear here and there, I learned to push through procrastination and did what I needed to do.
Why? When your procrastination is motivated by fear, it weighs on you. And when it weighs on you because it’s never done, it negatively affects your heart.
In a Science of Us article entitled, Procrastination Is Not Great for Your Heart, Melissa Dahl concludes the following based on the Journal of Behavioral Medicine’s study linking procrastination and heart disease:
“People who are habitual procrastinators may be likely to put off dreary chores like exercising or eating healthily, and the avoidance of these can of course lead to chronic health issues, like heart disease. And, as anyone who’s ever procrastinated on anything knows, people who put undesirable tasks off still, eventually, have to actually do those tasks — and when they do, they’ll be under more stress than necessary, because they’ve allowed themselves less time to get the thing done. Stress, and its detrimental effect on the body’s inflammatory responses, can also contribute to heart disease. “
Now, I’m not a “chronic procrastinator,” but I believe any type of procrastination is serious. Time is too precious for putting things off – especially important things!
So, I took action to overcome it – and still take action when it creeps up here and there.
4 Ways to Overcome Procrastination Rooted in Fear
I’ll admit: the action associated with overcoming procrastination isn’t the easiest to take. But, I’m presenting 4 tips you can test for effectiveness immediately. See whether they’ll help you stop avoiding the things you need to complete.
First: Recognize Your Fears.
In her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Dr. Susan Jeffers says something I agree with:
“Fear will always be a part of all our lives in one form or another. And this applies to people everywhere. … no matter who we are, no matter where we live, no matter what we are experiencing in life, we all feel fear, but fear doesn’t need to hold us back…”
When going through a career transition, you face fears, a few of which I mentioned above. You’re human.
Personally, these fears activated themselves all the more as my job search dragged on. I’d never before failed to accomplish something I’d set out to do. I’d never before experienced as much rejection as I’ve experienced in my search for a job.
I questioned whether I’d measure up to the wants of employers. I questioned the point of applying when the possibility of rejection loomed.
As I fought these fears and kept applying to jobs, however, the hurt from the constant sting of rejections lessened. And, I began my search of exploring various opportunities and avenues.
I still get rejected. I still feel the fears, but I now know how to deal with them and keep pressing.
Though it isn’t easy to manage these fears, you can also do so with determination.
Don’t become a victim of fear. Even when you can’t say goodbye to fear, you can push through it and get tasks done.
Second: Schedule a Planning and Organizing Period.
When unemployed and looking for a job, diligence is required. Knowing this, it doesn’t hurt to plan and stage your tasks.
When I’m scouting opportunities, for example, I break my job search activities up into different stages during my planning period.
1. Research Stage: Research companies and available positions.
2. Identification Stage: Identify positions of interest and whether I meet the organization’s required qualifications.
3. Preparation Stage: Prepare my cover letter and resume according to the company’s needs. Display my ability to perform the job’s tasks.
4. Editing Stage: Proofread and edit my application materials for mistakes and corrections.
5. Submission Stage: Submit resume and cover letter for consideration.
For each stage, I focus only on activities in this stage. When I’m done with it, I move on to the next one.
You might also find it helpful to track everything you do through organization. With an organized to-do list, you determine what needs to be done for the day, prioritize them, set a time for completion, and check off tasks as they’re completed.
Third: Instead of Deterring, Take Action.
I’ll warn you here: don’t get in a state of paralysis while planning. If you don’t do the tasks broken up in these stages, your planning is really procrastination.
Even when you experience unemployment fears, don’t let these fears stop you from taking action.
Instead, remain diligent and persistent with your professional tasks. Take action.
Do you need help with taking action?
In his article entitled 5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done, Allen Schowengerdt suggests:
You set a timer for 10 minutes.
“By frantically racing the clock for that short period, you’ll likely find you become engrossed in your tasks and continue working.”
Take the first step with your timer in hand if you need to.
Complete Your Research.
Identify Target Companies.
Finish Your Application Material.
Commit to doing your task for 10 minutes and see how much you accomplish. After 10 minutes, you might want to continue your task for another 10 minutes.
You see where I’m going, right?
Why not see if it works for you?
Fourth: Set Aside a Break Time.
In other words, take a break when necessary. Sometimes, you need time off from your tasks for refreshing. If you don’t, then you’ll stretch yourself too far.
I know how this feels too.
In the beginning of my job search, I kept working at it constantly – even when I became tired and knew I needed a break. Job searching became a problem in my life as I entered the overload stage.
I worked from a place of exhaustion and frustration because I didn’t want to be “lazy.” With the passage of time and a submitted resume error, however, I knew I had to take this break thing seriously for health purposes. It proved beneficial mentally and physically too.
So to you: take a break when necessary. You’ll know when you need one and for how long.
Use this time to engage in energizing activities. Praying and meditating. Reading inspirational or developmental material. Taking a walk.
And don’t forget to be intentional about the amount of “break time” you set aside and stick to it.
When unemployed and job hunting, you face procrastination rooted in fear. This doesn’t mean you’re lazy, especially if you use your procrastination problem to take on another productive activity.
The issue comes in when you allow your fears to permanently stop you from doing the very thing you need to do. Please don’t let this happen.
You must recognize your fears. When you recognize them, you won’t become a victim to them.
Besides recognizing your fears, in this article, we’ve looked at 3 more tips for dealing with your procrastination. Test them and see whether they’ll help you like they’ve helped me.
Why? Time is too precious for wasting.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful!
Disclaimer: This article contains outgoing links to the work of others on the following websites: Medical Daily, Psychology Today, and Michael Hyatt.
P. S. What are some ways you overcome procrastination in unemployment? I’d love to read your response here.