The Wall Street Journal‘s Alexandra Levit does nice work by answering questions from jobseekers. Recently, her column answered this question below. With a similar word count I would like to handle this question here and add it to her answer in the December 29, 2009 Wall Street Journal.
Q: I am driven, hard working and smart, but I lack the self-discipline to look for a job. I have hired a career counselor, but I still can’t muster the motivation I need and am always procrastinating. Do you have any advice for being a more effective job seeker?
A: Acknowledging the fact that you have a problem with self-discipline is half the battle. Next, you need to employ some strategies to conquer your natural tendency toward procrastination. Create a calendar of job search-related tasks that you will do each day and concentrate on checking as many of them off the list as you can. When the urge comes to do something else instead, force yourself to think about whether a momentary reprieve is worth having to overhaul the whole calendar to reschedule a particular task. You should also think about the big picture. Sometimes the most effective job hunting activities require the most effort and, in turn, produce the greatest rewards — like a job that is satisfying and pays well. A final trick I use for procrastination is to start with the least complicated part of a particular task. Once I’ve finished one component, I gain momentum and it’s a lot easier to keep moving.
You need to get with your career counselor and start asking some tough questions such as:
What is at stake if I don’t do anything or anything productive in my job search due to my procrastination?
What do I have to gain by getting outside of my comfort zone in my search?
What kinds of things do I need to work on or develop to help me develop more confidence to take action in my search?
In the past when have I been the most motivated to take action?
Who do I need to associate with through one on one conversations, reading or other communication that will help me focus and energize me?
Alternatively, who do I need to stop associating with while I need to be very positive and proactive about my search?
What are the daily habits that I can commit myself to now that will benefit me in my search?
After you answer these and other questions then you can start to put together a gameplan, a job search calendar and a calendar that incorporates play, physical, intellectual and spiritual components to enhance your job search productivity.
There are no easy answers to handling procrastination in your job search. The help of a strong career coach or counselor helps.
What do you do or recommend that others do to overcome procrastination in their job search?