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The Secret to Overcoming Job Hunt Procrastination

The pressure is on. The job hunt has begun, and with it, the anxiety over how long you’re going to have to replace your income and whether you’ll make your next set of bills. Going after a new job is a huge inconvenience, and even if you’re in the fortunate position to still have the job you’re looking to replace, you may still be feeling a degree of trepidation about making a change. No matter what your personal circumstances or what scenario has thrust you back out into the job market, job hunting comes loaded with a number of pressures. If you’re feeling the strain — and the inertia that often goes along with it– there is something you can do to make the whole process much easier. First, know that you are not in this alone. Feeling Stuck Is Normal Feeling resistance over doing what you need to do is actually related to the various pressures you’re under. On the one hand, you want to pay the bills, and you have the fear of not being able to do so pushing you to move forward, to take action, to brush up your resume and put yourself out there. But on the other hand, you also have pressures that cause you to hang back. Mobilizing for the job hunt is a massive pain in the butt. You have so much to put in place. You have applications to write, companies to contact, telephone interviews and surveys and aptitude tests and screenings to pass. On top of all that, at any stage in the process, there’s a big risk you will be rejected. And boy, do we do crazy things to avoid that feeling of rejection — even when we think we’re pretty resilient. The thing is, no matter how confident and unaffected by others’ opinions you may think you are, being already under pressure will make you more sensitive to things that would have, on any other day, been water down a duck’s back. Even though logically you know it isn’t personal and you can’t win every job, when you’re knocked back for a position, that haunting worry that you aren’t good enough rears its ugly head and can put even the most confident of professionals into a funk. Between this and the pressure of having to get a job, it’s not surprising if you’ve ended up procrastinating and putting off doing what you should be doing. But what can you do about it? When you can’t do what you know you should do, look at the pressures pulling you in different directions.

Take Out the Pressures Before They Take You Out of the Game The trick to handling all of this is to become aware of the anxieties and pressures pulling you all over the place. Even though all your pressure might be pulling you in the direction of getting that job, this in itself is a pressure and something that will zap your energy and make it more difficult to do what you need to do. I know what you’re probably thinking: You just need to send out more resumes or land one more interview or get one more thing done. The reality is, very little will shift in the outside world until your inner world changes — regardless of how much effort you put in. It all starts with understanding that inner world. How to Slay Job Hunt Pressures The solution to your problem is to become aware of all the factors pushing and pulling you when it comes to getting a job. The easiest way to do this is to grab a pen and paper and apply this simple two-step process: Step 1: Create Two Lists The first list is all the reasons you need to get a job, and the second list is all the reasons you don’t want to get (or are avoiding getting) a job. If you manage this easily, you may want to hone this down further and do it for a specific job you’re in the process of applying for.

The first thing this will do is give you an awareness of all the factors at play and give you some clarity on your own motivations.

You wouldn’t be the first person to have an a-ha moment as to why you’re finding everything so hard. You may even spontaneously re-evaluate the jobs you’re applying for once you look at your real motivations. At the very least, you will see the mixture of necessity and fear, and your own deeper desires for what you want in your life, come to the surface. Step 2: Remove the Pressures Now you need to take these pressures out of the equation, simply by experiencing fully the feelings associated with them.

The reason fear and pressure have such a hold over us is because we try to battle on without really feeling them.

This just wears us out and eventually makes us feel like giving up. If you want to have 100% of your energy available to you for your job hunt, you’re going to have to let go of wasting energy keeping your feelings in check. The way to do this is to go through each item on your two lists and simply sit with the feelings each one produces. Let’s say you have “need to pay bills” on one list. Just feel for a moment how that makes you feel. Maybe you notice a sensation somewhere in your body, like a heaviness in your chest or throat. You may feel it as a pressure in your heart. However you experience it, simply stay with that feeling and lean into it. In a few moments, you will notice it begin to ebb away, as if it were never even there. Do this for each item on the list, spending several minutes on each until you no longer feel anything. By the time you’ve completed both lists, you will be feeling much lighter, much freer and more able to focus on what’s really going to get you where you want to be. Take your time with this exercise. The results can be truly transformational — not just for your immediate career and job search, but for the rest of your life.


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