Getting started with career planning – breaking the procrastination cycle

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A few weeks ago we shared a blog on how to get started when you don’t know what to do but what if you can’t get started because procrastination keeps getting in the way? 

Procrastination is avoidance of a task. When you need to start an essay but you put it off, maybe you’ll go and make a cup of tea or just check your emails or have a quick look on Instagram. It’s easy to find things to delay you from getting on with the task that you really need to do! There might be lots of reasons for procrastination and a good starting point for taming it is to understand what’s causing it. Here are some common causes of career planning procrastination and how to solve them.


I can’t start career planning until I know exactly what I want to do

You don’t have to have everything figured out. Career planning is about exploring your options, researching ideas and you don’t have to get it right the first time. You might do some work experience in one type of role and discover that you really don’t enjoy it. That’s fine, because you’ve learnt something that will help you narrow down the kind of role you do want. No experience is ever wasted, you’ll always learn something whether good or bad.

Feeling overwhelmed

I just don’t know how to get started

Too much choice, too much information, too many options. It’s not surprising you may feel overwhelmed. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. The key here is to break it down into smaller steps. Set yourself a small task, it could be listening to a recording of one of our recent events that interests you – virtual careers sessions or putting aside 15 minutes to read about one job sector which you’re interested in. Take one small step and the momentum builds. You don’t need to get everything done all at once.

Self doubt

I know I’ll fail so there’s no point getting started

Maybe some of your friends are getting interviews or have some work experience secured and the pressure of comparison is weighing you down. You might think if I don’t try then I won’t fail but this kind of thinking can leave you stuck. Start by thinking about what your strengths are, if you’ve completed York Strengths you can look back and see where your strengths lie. By getting to know your strengths and what energises you, you can focus on how you present and articulate these in job applications and interviews and this will boost your confidence. Of course, we can help you too. See our website for tools to help you prepare for applications and interviews or find out how you can talk to us