by Sunny Simon
While waiting for my order at Starbucks, I sat down near a man working on his laptop. He looked up, smiled and heaved his shoulders with a long, frustrated sigh. When I inquired if everything was okay, he explained he really needed to find a new job but was struggling to create a market-ready resume. As the conversation continued, I learned he had been attempting to write a document that would attract the attention of recruiters for the past four weeks.
Immediately I recognized his problem. The fellow was trapped in a long bout of procrastination probably due to fear. You see, once his resume was complete, he would actually have to start using it to apply for jobs, followed by the interviewing process, negotiating a solid offer and then starting a new position.
Although you may not be in the job market, this procrastination scenario might sound familiar. If it does, know that you are not alone. Once we begin to experience anxiety, we procrastinate. Finding a new job, can be as intimidating as joining a new gym, or approaching an attractive woman in the hopes of making a date. The question is how do we break the pattern?
Our Starbucks customer started at the right place. His outdated resume needed updating. In order to get to the next level, he could either vow to not leave the coffee shop until it was completed, or hire a professional to write it for him and be done with it. Obviously, he continued to struggle because each time he set out to write, anxiety surfaced. He probably wrote a line on his resume then intentionally let his attention be diverted to a more enjoyable activity, thus his downfall.
There is an emotional component to procrastination. Whether it is writing a resume, cleaning out your garage or working on a vital sales presentation, acknowledge your desire to avoid getting the job done. It might help to tap this definition into your phone or notebook, “Procrastination is the voluntary delay of an intended act despite knowing you will be worse off for the delay.”
To curb your procrastination habit, begin with a strong commitment to your goal. Next, stop thinking achievement will be easy. It’s work! Lastly no switching gears. Read the definition again, delay is deadly. Convince yourself there is no magic involved, just sweat equity. You will only succeed if you grind through it, get the job done and leave your self-defeating tendencies behind. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog www.lifeonthesunnyside.net