Job Search Procrastination: Don't Fight It, Channel It

Andrew Kitchen 25.09.2019

Searching for a new job can seem time-consuming and repetitive. It doesn't have to be! This article shows how you can beat the procrastination bug:

If you're reading this, you're probably prone to the odd bout of procrastination like the rest of us. Job seekers are particularly vulnerable as the monotony of application forms, job sites and CV re-touches forces the brain to seek diversion via Facebook and endless games of solitaire. 

However, rather than going round in circles trying (and failing) to get your original task done, we suggest giving in to your procrastinatory urges; your time is likely to be better spent on something productive that could ultimately help your job search.

Start putting together a list of worthwhile activities and attach it to your computer screen in the form of a (virtual) post-it note. Here are some suggestions to get you started

1. Do some thinking

Put a stop to idle daydreaming and allow yourself time for a little productive thinking:

  • Reflect on your strengths – where have you demonstrated them?
  • What achievements made you feel really good?
  • Where are the gaps you should be filling?


This is all excellent fodder for interviews and application forms – if you get into the flow start taking notes and store them somewhere where they're easily accessible.

2. Test yourself

It's always pleasantly distracting to do a test that gives us more insight about ourselves. It can help you narrow done the roles you should be applying for and make you much more convincing at interviews too.

So why not look at the huge range of career assessments available. You can find out more about your personality, resilience, response to stress, emotional intelligence, assertiveness and strengths and weaknesses, or you can work out your preferences such as the workplace cultures you prefer, what motivates you and your preferred learning styles. 

3. Get moving

A run, brisk walk or visit to the gym will help clear your head and give your brain some much-needed downtime, allowing you to return refreshed and ready to focus on the task at hand. Alternatively, a jaunt on the treadmill or exercise bike can be a great window for some focused thinking. 

4. Enjoy a more productive coffee break

Coffee and a natter with a friend might sound like dillydallying at its best, but not if you ask to meet up to discuss your job hunt. Use your comrade as a sounding board for your application strategy or to help you process feedback from recent interviews. 

5. Spruce up your social media

Instead of wasting more time aimlessly browsing your friends' holiday snaps why not try tidying up your profiles to make them recruiter friendly. Invest in creating a great LinkedIn page (this could be a great platform for connecting with potential employers), but keep an eye on the clock. 

6. Stretch out

Then again, a good old stretch could be just what the doctor ordered. The benefits of stretching are widely reported, helping to ease tension and stress and to boost moods and energy levels – perfect for those stamina-sapping hours in front of the laptop. 

The key to all of these activities, of course, is moderation. Your dream role won't find itself after all. Keep your respites short and sweet (even if that means having a few throughout the day), and try and keep these time-outs as connected to your search as possible.

Andrew Kitchen's picture
Principal Consultant