Imagine the situation: you have a job application deadline just days away and all you have managed to achieve is half a personal statement and a list of your skills. You force yourself to start writing the rest of your CV or cover letter when you notice the screen of your laptop is full of finger prints. So you start to dust the screen, hours fly by and you’ve found yourself de-scaling the kettle and missed the application deadline. If this sounds familiar, you may have the habits of a pro procrastinator.
It’s OK though; we are all guilty of replacing the task of writing a cover letter, starting a long job application process with mundane dusting, re-organising your sock drawer – for the third time or perfecting your cupcake recipe. It’s good that you recognise you have these traits, however don’t get comfortable with calling yourself a procrastinator otherwise you will find yourself neglecting too many important tasks and never achieving any goals.
Procrastination is a psychological term of replacing high priority actions with lower priority items and we all do it, some worse than others. The question is, why do you do it and how can you overcome it?
Do you fear large, overwhelming tasks?
Break your project into smaller tasks. If you are applying for a job which has a particularly long and drawn out job application process, take each step at a time, that way each step will be a small achievement and one stop closer to completing your goal.
Are you constantly fighting the clock?
If you find yourself constantly battling with time, chances are you have given yourself unreasonable time parameters in which to complete your tasks. Be realistic with how long something will take. Remember, each person works at a different rate so don’t judge yourself on other people’s time parameters. Just don’t miss the deadline otherwise you can wave bye-bye to the job of your dreams.
Are distractions stopping you from working?
Turn your phone off, put your tablet on snooze and switch off the TV/Xbox because these could all be terrible distractions. Unless you are a person who works well with music in the background, clear out anything that could create a barrier. Now you are free to email recruiters and search for your first graduate job distraction free and focused.
Are you just too tired?
Fatigue can be a terrible thing when you are trying to work. If you find yourself getting tired, take a break, it’s that simple! Give yourself short and frequent breaks to get some air or food. A 15 minute break after 90 minutes of work could give you the refresh and boost you need.
Are you worried you’re not good enough?
Applying for a job that you think you aren’t good enough for can be a real downer. Fight your negativity with the idea that you ARE good enough. If you apply yourself and all the above anti-crastinating tips you’ll be putting yourself in good stead to achieving your goals.