What’s stopping you? Is procrastination getting in the way of your job search?

postit scrabble to do todo

Written by Sarah Mallen, Information & Guidance Coordinator at The Careers Service

Do you find yourself leaving things until the last minute ALL THE TIME?  “The deadline for submitting my video interview is in 3 hours!”

Do you miss out on opportunities because you left it too late? “Oh no the deadline for that job has passed. I only found out about it a month ago!”

Do you talk yourself out of doing things because it’s not the right time, or conditions aren’t right?  “I can’t study, it’s not quiet enough – but it never will be, will it?”

Do you ask everyone for advice, and then never act on any of it?

There are hundreds of things that other people do all the time that mean that they don’t miss out on opportunities, I can give you a list… but that’s not going to help you if you can’t take action. There are many causes of procrastination and you really need to try to understand what causes yours and tackle it.  The counselling service have some useful resources – Don’t look at them later, do it now!

The wellbeing sessions from the My Learning Essentials team also include procrastination, plus things like perfectionism, and challenging unhelpful thinking habits.

If you feel you could tackle your procrastination around looking for work or thinking about your future with a few tips, then here are a few things you can try.

1.  Use a diary paper and / or electronic.

Enter the date an application must be in by and the time.  But ALSO set yourself regular reminders between the time you enter the information and the date itself.

2. Act on information.

Seen something you want to do? Make a note – yes remember that diary – use it!  It will soon be lost on your email or social media account and the little procrastination demon will tell you “you’ll remember that”- but you won’t.

3. Is fear getting in the way?

Fear of the unknown is a very real thing, and who can know exactly what the future will bring. But you made it to University now you need to take courage and believe that you can take another leap.  Putting off thinking about your future until after you graduate will just prolong the agony and make it harder.

I don’t think I know anyone who loves having interviews. Fear is part of our bodies mechanism for getting prepared for action. Acknowledge it and use it, but don’t be paralysed by it.  If you feel that having a bad interview is worse than not attending a job interview at all – come and talk to us. Use our resources here to help you work on those nerves!

4. You can’t do everything at once.

Prioritise and plan. If what you really need right now is a break – go on have one, (a proper one doing something you like) but decide up front how long you are going to give yourself !   When you return decide – are all the things on the list still a priority? Do a risk assessment, if I don’t do this what happens? How much does that impact on me? It’s your decision to make.

5. If you need advice or help ask for it.

Even if you decide not to take the advice you still need to move forward.

The end of your time at University will come whether you are prepared or not.  Just think about all the great things you will miss if you don’t grasp opportunities now.

All Careers advice Postgraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate-highlighted

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