If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with that time? A recent study says “not much”. The study shows that due to unemployment, retirement and other factors, we have more free time than ever but we’re spending most of extra time watching TV and sleeping. For job seekers, this is probably not the most productive use of extra time. But it’s tempting to kick back when you feel you have so much time on your hands.
How can you stay productive in the face of what seems like endless free time? Here are five strategies for time management.
Track how you are spending your time. The time study showing we’re watching more TV had thousands of people track their time down to the minute. You might not need to be that detailed but it’s enlightening to see exactly what you are doing with your time. So start a time diary and track a week or more. Then set goals for adjusting that time and try another week.
View job seeking as your job and commit to a number of hours you will spend on it each day. Some people say looking for a job is a full time job. Others say they make good progress spending six hours a day on it. There is no one number that is right for everyone. Suffice to say, it should be treated as a job and the set amount of time you spend on it should be enough that you make significant progress every day.
Tackle job search items first each day. Structure your day so that you do your job search items before anything optional or leisurely. Get up, get dressed, go to your work area, have daily goals and a to-do list and tackle it.
Set goals for your job search. You can’t know you are succeeding if you don’t define that success and have a plan for getting there.
Take on a “job”. That job may be volunteering, interning, learning or mentoring. Committing to real work, even if unpaid, helps you build resume items and is a powerful way to network with people who may help you land a job.
There is nothing wrong with a little extra sleep or TV time when unemployed. Just make sure you’re using most of your extra time for productive activity that leads you in the direction of a new job.
More on time management during your job search:
- Are you spending enough time on your job search?
- Are you spending your time on the wrong things?
- When your job is looking for a job
Tell us, what do you do to stay productive and on task when unemployed?