Procrastination is one of the most common reasons for being stuck in a job or career that doesn’t fit. Isn’t it fascinating that right when you are about to update your resume, or make an important call, you find yourself cleaning the bathroom? You are not alone!

Get Curious About Your Procrastination

While procrastination is a very common symptom of being stuck, it’s rarely the root cause. It’s worth exploring why you are procrastinating. The WHY of your procrastination can provide important clues. And it’s your way out of this vicious cycle. So, let’s get curious!

why of procrastination

Why are you avoiding the necessary steps to shift into a career that truly satisfies you? Are you afraid, confused, or bored? Maybe you are even experiencing a combination of all these states? You are not alone! Let’s take a closer look at each of the most common root causes for procrastination and explore effective remedies for each of them.

Do You Feel Scared or Anxious?

procrastination root cause fear

You may be scared of taking the necessary steps to make the career shift you desire. Don’t worry, you are in good company. Most people face some pretty significant fears when exploring new ways of creating a livelihood. This was the case with my career coaching client, Pam. She was ready to conduct informational interviews with people in the field of magazine editing, a career she was truly excited about. However, like most people, Pam felt so much discomfort cold calling and talking to strangers, that she procrastinated.

During her next coaching session, we explored how Pam could approach informational interviews in a way that felt more comfortable for her. Pam decided to reach out to her large circle of friends and share her desire to talk with magazine editors. Sure enough, within a week, Pam received three personal introductions to magazine editors in three different countries. During the engaging conversations with these editors, Pam gained important insights. As a result, she felt confident to pursue her dream job.

So, if you find yourself procrastinating because you are scared of taking the next step on your career clarity journey, it’s well worth exploring how you might approach this step in a way that is more energizing for you.

Are You Feeling Bored or Drained?

procrastination root cause boredom

You may feel drained just contemplating the next step on your career clarity journey. Do you find yourself avoiding your next step, because it seems tedious, boring or monotonous to you? If so, I encourage you to commit to the smallest possible time increment of the task that drains you each day.

This approach really worked for my client, Susie, who wanted to consolidate her small business in order to join an inspiring business partnership. The consolidation process involved going through her substantial paper files, a task that Susie had procrastinated about for several months.

During coaching, I asked Susie what small time segment she could commit to on a daily basis. She chose a short time period, right after her lunch break. Each day Susie set a timer, filed papers for 15 minutes and celebrated with a victorious fist pump, when she finished her ‘chore’ for the day. Within a week, Susie could see significant progress. This in turn kept her motivated to complete the task, so that she could move forward with her exciting career goal.

Of course, if possible, delegating tasks that drain you, is another great option. You can then move on to the next step that energizes you.

Do You Feel Scattered or Confused?

When Carla first contacted me for coaching, she felt pulled in many directions. One day she dreamed about opening a coffee shop. The next day Carla wanted to build an animal shelter. The following day she contemplated completing her MBA. Sometimes Carla even explored several career paths simultaneously. While her mind was extremely busy, she felt stuck. Carla was frustrated that she wasn’t able to decide on one of her ideas and follow through. You too, may be feeling pulled in all kinds of different directions. Perhaps you wish, just like Carla, that you could finally settle on one idea and follow through.

procrastination root cause confusion

During her career clarity consultation, Carla realized that she wasn’t ready to follow through with any of her ideas. She understood that she needed to find clarity on what she really wanted in her future career. She longed to get to know herself more deeply in order to find a career path that truly suited her.

So, if you are feeling confused, take a step back from all your ideas. The way forward naturally unfolds when you get clear on your strengths, values, passion and sense of purpose.

Just like Carla, Pam and Susie you don’t have to figure this out on your own. The support and guidance of a skilled career coach can often make the difference between endless procrastination and positive forward momentum. Request your free career clarity consultation, so that we can explore your bright future together.

Is Procrastination Helping You?

When the idea for this article first came to me, I quickly jotted it down. Then I found myself procrastinating about writing and cleaned the washroom instead. As I was scrubbing the tub, the structure for the article crystalized in my mind, and I felt more and more ready to write.

Procrastination can indeed be a very effective way to get organized for a project that you seem to be avoiding. While you engage with a simple, meditative activity such as cleaning, your mind gets a chance to percolate ideas. You may indeed feel more prepared to start your project after procrastinating. Here’s how you will know that you are engaging in productive ways of procrastination:

  • You find answers to your questions while procrastinating.
  • You come back to your project with fresh ideas and renewed inspiration.
  • You feel renewed and refreshed from your procrastination.
  • You continue making progress on your project in between bouts of procrastination.

If this is YOU, you don’t need to change anything about your procrastination tendencies. You may simply wish to embrace procrastination more fully as part of your creative process. It took me a few years to realize that when I am baking a banana loaf, going for a walk or doing my invoicing, my article ideas get a chance to percolate. I no longer beat myself up for these digressions. Instead I accept them as part of the meandering journey of my creative process.