Meet the “I’ll Do That Tomorrow” Monkey

Do you sometimes hang out on Facebook or Instagram rather than tackle a pressing issue? Do you push some tasks to another day that never seems to come? Could this possibly be affecting your career?

Tim Urban’s engaging and insightful talk makes the point that we are all procrastinators in one way or another and the effects can be far-reaching.

Introducing us to the Procrastination Monkey he differentiates between two types of procrastination.

  • Where there is a short-term deadline, something to be completed say in three or 12 months’ time.
  • Where there is no deadline at all and that’s when we are all prone to more than just a bit of procrastination.

So how does it matter from an HR perspective if you indulge in a bit of procrastination? I think it adversely affects two areas we deal with constantly at Peoplecorp – Resumes and Career Planning.


HR people seem to put off tackling their resume for as long as possible and then only address it when there is a deadline, and that deadline usually comes in the form of an interview. So what happens when you procrastinate like that and leave it to the last minute? You rush the content, lose the focus and you do yourself such an injustice by damaging your chances unless you are a pretty amazing person who can throw together a fabulous resume at a moment’s notice.

Make it a priority to develop your resume when you aren’t under pressure and keep it fresh by reviewing it once a quarter when you can update it with recent achievements.


Career planning generally doesn’t have a deadline. We tend to think about it from time to time and promise ourselves to give it some serious thought, tomorrow. And so it continues, always tomorrow. But what happens if we never actually get round to it?

“Procrastination can be life-affecting. People who don’t take action run the risk whereby they become a spectator in their own lives.”


If, as a working assumption, we think of our career as spanning the ages of around 22 through to 60, then those 38 years sound like a long time, plenty enough to do everything you want to in your working life. Find the job you love in your chosen career, do well, achieve your personal goals, achieve what you want to for your career.

Your quick calculator is that for each year between now and you’re 60 you can allocate yourself 10.3 months per year to get done what you want to do with your career. And if you’re planning to take time off for maternity/paternity leave you could reasonably reduce that figure to 9.7 months.

And, as if you need reminding, your career isn’t the only thing you need to deal with doing those months.

This is a TED talk I think is worth listening to and then….well, maybe it’s time to put the procrastinating monkey to one side, schedule in regular resume reviews and do more than just think fleetingly about your career.