Tag Archives: procrastination

How to Stop Procrastinating

The job search is rarely fun. You’re sitting in one place with a computer screen as your only companion, sometimes for hours at a time. It can get disheartening. Which is part of the reason so many people just quit looking.

And even if you don’t completely give up on the job search, it’s easy to fall prey to procrastination. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Wikipedia, random news websites—they’re all just a few clicks away. And your cellphone ensures that friends and family are possible distractions.

When it comes to job searching, ordinarily productive activities can become dangerous distractions.  Maybe you’d rather do the laundry, cook dinner, or clean the bathroom than job search. You have to be careful with breaks too—a short walk can turn into a long stroll if you don’t time it.

Here are a few tips to help you deal with procrastination during the job search or anything else you’re having trouble concentrating on.

Clean Your Space

What does your desk or workplace look like? Is it neat and organized or could it use a good cleaning? If you thrive in a messy environment, that’s great! However, as noted by Unclutterer.com, a study conducted by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute says that “multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation.” This means that as the amount of “stuff” in your workspace increases, your brain needs to work harder to focus on any one thing.  So get rid of that clutter and clear your head!

Eliminate Future Distractions

Are you a coffee drinker? A music lover? Make sure to put on a fresh pot and pick out your song selection for the day before you start job searching. That way you won’t waste valuable time looking for the perfect song or brewing another pot. If you eliminate these distractions, it’s easier to stay on task.

Get a Concentration Aid

What else do coffee and music have in common? They help you concentrate! If there’s something out there that helps you concentrate, use it. This can differ for everyone. Some people like coffee, others don’t. Music helps some people concentrate, while it distracts others. It’s even possible your secret sauce is listening to ambient nature noises or twirling a fidget spinner. It might even be something specific to you, like pictures of your friends or family. Whatever it is, find it and use it.

Take (Timed) Breaks

Eventually the job search gets boring. Applications start to blend together and you’d rather do anything else than fill in your job history for the umpteenth time. When it gets to this point, it might be time to take a break. Try to do something that involves a bit of exercise, like walking around the house or doing a set of stretches. Just make sure to keep it to ten minutes or less.

Start with the Hardest Task First

When you’re looking for a job, you might be tempted to wait a bit on the longer applications and start out with the one-click apps. However, this might be doing your productivity a disservice. Those easier apps frequently have a lower rate of employer response on them (since so many people are applying), and longer applications are associated with higher quality companies. So start with the longer applications, and sprinkle a few easier ones in between as breathers.

Have you ever dealt with a procrastination problem? If so, how did you fix it? Let us know in the comments below!


Take It From Abe: Advice From President Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He served from March 1861 until he was assassinated in April 1865, leaving behind a legacy that has stood the test of time.

Today, is President Lincoln’s birthday, and to help celebrate his memory, we’ve compiled some of his best advice. Take a look at the quotes below to discover what you can learn about your job search and career path from one of the United States’ most famous leaders.

Whatever you are

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
When it comes to being successful, it doesn’t matter what field you want to work in, what school you want to attend, or what companies you want to be a part of. What matters is how you improve and motivate yourself to become better at everything you do. Take it from Abe and strive to be the best in your career or personal life.

Whatever you are (1)

“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”
Making mistakes is part of life. We all mess up from time to time. But, how you handle those mistakes and recover from them can impact your life both personally and professionally. Instead of dwelling on the past, try to move forward. If you lack a certain skill that caused you to make a mistake, improve that skill. If you accidentally hurt a relationship, mend it. If you don’t do well at an interview, learn from your mistakes so you can do better at your next one. As Lincoln advises, always move forward.

Whatever you are (2)

 “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Procrastination affects a lot of people. Sometimes, it’s just easier to put things off than accomplish them right away. If you’re avoiding working on a certain project, updating your resume, cleaning up your social media accounts, refreshing your references, or brushing up on your interview skills, take some time to face your obstacles today instead of putting them off for another day. The more you accomplish now, the less stress you’ll have tomorrow.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Break Your Web Surfing Habit

Websurfing_June2011_web With so many jobs now requiring employees to spend the day on the internet, distractions are bound to occur. Whether you are susceptible to Facebook, news stories, or checking your bank statements, we all have something that steals our attention and productivity. Although some workplace distractions are inevitable, there are some simple precautions you can take in order to avoid one-hour YouTube watch parties with your co-workers.
1. Acknowledge your personal high and low productivity hours. Do you hate mornings? Do you always feel especially tired after lunch?  Recognize your low points of the day and schedule your workload around them. That isn’t to say you are allowed to sit and do nothing during your slump, but by working harder during your best hours you will be able to ensure a more productive, effective day in the office.

2.  Create deadlines for yourself. It can be hard to stay on task if you have an unspecified time to produce results. If your manager doesn’t set a deadline, set one for yourself. Make your deadline reasonable; no time constraint should be unattainable nor should it be lackadaisical.

3. Listen while you work. Studies show that music impacts reasoning skills, the cardiovascular system, and moods. Use music as a powerful way to improve your health and focus during work. Instead of looking to the internet for entertainment, you can play your favorite song for some much needed comfort and inspiration. Listening to music can ensure you’re having fun and getting your work finished at the same time.

4. Block inappropriate websites. You know the websites you’re prone to look at when you should be working. To keep your eyes from wandering, block these websites during times you are supposed to be working. There are a plethora of blocking programs, including LeechBlock, that help curb your time spent on the biggest time-wasting sites. 

5. Change your attitude toward work. At the end of the day, if you are compelled to waste time, you will. The biggest obstacle in breaking your tendency to procrastinate is the way you think about your workday. If you are bored, uninspired, and don’t feel challenged at work, there may be something deeper occurring. Really consider your time at work and if it is worth your efforts. Although most procrastination is simply human, some may be a sign you are in need of a more fulfilling job.

There will always be things to distract you at work. Although getting sidetracked is nothing to feel guilty about, it is something that should happen in moderation. Strive to focus on work, give yourself breaks to refresh and rejuvenate your mind, and have fun. You’ll find the more you enjoy work, the less procrastinating you’ll end up doing.