Procrastination isn’t necessarily a trait that’s common in expats. Though of course procrastinating things like Czech lessons or giving up a teaching gig to seek out a higher paying job are always considerations for many us.
Whether either of those situations applies to you or you just want to make some positive life changes, chances are that procrastination may just be holding you back.
Mathias Durand is a coach and public speaker for Procrastination.com. Hailing from France originally, he says that living in Prague actually improved his life for the better.
“Personally, my life has changed for the better since I moved to Prague. I started in sales and I got promoted as a coach after six months. People here gave me a chance and challenged me to grow. I fell in love with leadership, coaching, and self-development. I love Prague! I’m very grateful for living here. “
We recently spoke with Durand about how to overcome procrastination — according to him, it was one of the most Googled words in France in 2018! — and how it can hinder success on the jobs market in Prague and the Czech Republic or your decisions to finally learn Czech:
Is procrastination a modern-day problem?
Unfortunately, it is. We’re living in an era where we have access to so much knowledge and information. Sounds great and we should all be grateful for that. However, it’s hard to make a decision and set up actions to move forward. That’s the paradox of choice. The more options we have, the fewer decisions we make. We call that the decision paralysis.
How has the rise of social media affected the problem of procrastination in modern society?
Social media never ends. A book or a newspaper does. When we scroll down on our social media, it’s hard to stop. On top of that, the habit of looking for instant gratification and comparing our lives to others increases the time we spend (or I should rather say “lose”) on social media.
Is procrastination a cultural thing, meaning do different cultures procrastinate more?
Hard to say. Cultures are different, but our brains are the same. The interactions between emotions and rationality in our brains are the same and, unfortunately, we’re all the victims of our cognitive biases. I wish I could tell you that, naturally, Europeans procrastinate less, but I’m not sure it’s an objective statement to make.
Why do we procrastinate, what does it mean, and what we can we do to stop?
We procrastinate because we’re struggling to deal with our emotions. It’s not necessarily a time-management issue. It’s an emotion-management one. Once we feel a feeling, we rationalize it and tell ourselves stories to justify an action.
We believe that procrastination can be overcome by improving these four categories of our lives: motivation, time-management, emotions towards outcomes, and objectivity, developing which can enhance critical thinking and better decision making.
For many of us expats, learning Czech is a challenge — can procrastination be a major barrier to things like learning a language, assimilating into a culture, etc.?
It is maybe because we believe it’ll be harder than what it actually is or it’ll take more time than in reality. Or, maybe because we failed to learn a language in the past and we believe we’re not capable of doing so today or tomorrow. We’re good at telling stories to ourselves!
Is expat life conducive to procrastination in general?
No, I don’t think so. It depends on the drive we have when we’re living abroad. Personally, my life has changed for the better since I moved to Prague
For expat job seekers looking to jump-start a career abroad how can procrastination be a hindrance and how can it be overcome?
By defining what we’re looking for and set up an action plan to make it happen. The best advice I can give is to split that project into as many small tasks as possible. Learn how to write a good CV and a good LinkedIn profile, look for the most attractive positions, learn how to send a great job application, and form the habit of doing the right thing, step by step.
Is procrastination ever a good thing?
Sometimes people misunderstand procrastination and tell me they need to take time to think and be creative. I fully agree with that. Don’t think not procrastinating means you always have to be busy! It means: “doing things we should do to live a fulfilled life.”
Taking time to think, socialize, letting creative ideas grow is essential.
Mathias Durand and his colleague Adela Schicker will host a conference on Motivation, Mindset, and Failures organized by Procrastination.com this
For more details see the Facebook page for the event here.