Are you procrastinating about making a job change that you know you should make…and yet, you keep putting it off?
While there are many reasons for avoiding things, if you find yourself avoiding making a job change, the likely culprit is what is known as protective avoidance.
If we are insecure about our ability to achieve something, we avoid it as a protective defense against the pain we will feel if we fail. Or maybe we just know that conducting a job search while employed will be challenging and tiring and you are dreading it and the short-term discomfort. So, we avoid it to protect ourselves from that. Protective avoidance is a major reason for procrastination.
How Does Procrastination Hurt Your Career?
While it might seem easier in the short-term to stay in the job you are in, as unfulfilling as it might be, avoidance will just make things worse. Eventually, you will be forced to face the inevitable, and find a new job, and you may well find that the years you spent procrastinating and avoiding it actually makes your job search harder. A stagnant career is not a positive in the job market.
Not only that, if you have remained in a job that you don’t like, simply for the sake of avoiding the discomfort of a job search, it is very likely you have become a master of avoidance in your job responsibilities too. Maybe you avoid meetings and put off projects. Or duck extra work and responsibilities when they are offered to you.
As a result of your avoidance, you miss out on finding new opportunities. Not only that, your avoidance likely impacts your performance reviews, and that will impact your ability to land a new job when the time has come and you are forced to do that.
In short, procrastination is standing in the way of your success.
Tips for Defeating Job Change Procrastination
But how do you take back control and motivate yourself to make that job change you’ve been avoiding? It’s not as hard as you think. In fact, by following these five quick tips, you really can defeat procrastination once and for all.
What Would Your Future Self Want You to Do?
This is a very important question.
What would your future self want you to do?
Would you be happy about your decision to put things off?
Are you ruining an opportunity further down the line?
Are you somehow going to make life more difficult for the you of tomorrow, next week, or next year?
This way of thinking might seem difficult at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Of all the tips here, this one is probably the most important. It shows mindfulness about what you are doing in the present and how it affects your future, always a good practice no matter what you’re doing.
Sometimes we set up situations in our minds where we blow things completely out of proportion. This happens a lot as an excuse for procrastinating.
We put off something thinking a task will be time-consuming or difficult only to find out later it isn’t.
If you think this might be the case now, take a few minutes to examine the job change you’re avoiding in a more critical light. If you need help, ask for an outside opinion. Never make decisions based on assumptions.
One of everyone’s favorite job change procrastination tools is to assume you don’t have time to job search when you are already employed. You can defeat procrastination once and for all by simply putting what you need to do on a calendar. Now you know you have the time to do it, effectively erasing any excuses not to.
We are less likely to use avoidance when we have an accountability partner. Teamwork makes anything possible. By enlisting help to keep you on track through accountability, you are more likely to be productive.
Sometimes avoidance has more deep-seated causes. If you’re having difficulty dealing with job change activities because of the past, or can’t seem to get on top of this, it might be time to find outside help. Talking to a career coach or a counselor can make all the difference.
By using these five tips, job change procrastination doesn’t stand a chance. All it takes is a little mindfulness to get back on track and accomplish what you need to find true career success.