Procrastination is more than a five-syllable word for sloth. Sometimes it is just putting vital things off to do something useless. More often for me, it’s an indicator that something’s going on that is:
Two examples from today:
Linda didn’t write the networking letter this week, as she planned. It turns out that she had a very emotional reaction to a networking event, that she did not express to anyone. When she finally talked with me and got it out, she got newly energized to do some networking. Together, we removed the emotional obstacle.
Maryanne has been putting off rewriting pieces of her website. Today, we discovered that she feels overwhelmed because she doesn’t really know where to start. So we talked it through and got her a few starting points. Re-energized, she is taking action now.
I know that the tendency is to judge ourselves for putting things off that we know we “should” do. Instead of being mean to ourselves, I suggest looking for a reason behind the symptom of procrastination. Maybe there is something you don’t know, or some emotion that’s blocking your path. Maybe you need to break down the big task into several smaller ones so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Maybe you need a break without guilt, so you can recharge and come back to things with new perspective and vigor.
In a job search it can be difficult to give oneself a rest. Yet it’s important to take breaks. It lets your body rest, and your unconscious work on your behalf. Ideas often emerge about next steps to take after you get a good night’s sleep or go for a walk or watch a TV show.
If you find that you are not doing things over a long period of time, perhaps you need some help discovering why that is. One person found she was looking for the “wrong fit” job, so she resisted taking any action. Once we came up with her “right fit” job goal, she took immediate action and was met by the universe in the form of the perfect fit job. She ended up getting that job within weeks – after months of seeming procrastination.
Just consider that you’re not lazy. Consider procrastination a symptom of something else and you can then go on the voyage of discovery to learn about yourself and find out what’s holding you back.