If you are between jobs, people probably assume you have lots of free time. But the truth is, if you’re actively seeking a new job, you should be pretty busy. Here are some ways to bring organization and discipline to the job of looking for a job.
Set up workspace. Organize your papers, have a place for your computer, good lighting and a comfortable chair. If possible, pleasant, quiet workspace set away from the rest of the home is ideal. But, if your workspace is the kitchen table, that’s OK, too. Just set it up for function and efficiency and be clear with yourself that, when you’re sitting there, you’re at work.
Get up and go to work. Shower, dress and follow a morning routine that puts you “at work” (in your workspace) by a reasonable hour in the morning.
Shut out distractions. Let family and friends know that, when you are in your workspace, you’re “at work”. Daytime TV is not conducive to job search success, so don’t try to mix talk shows and soap operas with networking and resume writing.
Set office hours. Many people are helped by setting specific hours they will spend on their job search. For example, commit to working 9am – 3pm daily. Let family and friends know. Plan activities to fill that time. If you finish your planned tasks early, have fall backs such as reading up on your industry, proactive network outreach or practicing a new skill. Be disciplined about remaining “at work” for the set time.
Plan. Each Friday set goals for the following week. At the end of each day, update your to-do list with objectives for the following day. As the week wraps up, evaluate whether you met your plan.
Get out. It’s tempting to spend all day every day on the computer. But it’s important to your mental health as well as the success of your job search that you are out meeting people in person on a regular basis.
Have fun. Enjoy the change in routine and don’t feel guilty about enjoying some downtime. Soon enough you’ll be back at work and locked into a new routine. There’s nothing wrong with weaving in some social and personal time while job seeking. Just follow the rules above and be disciplined about getting your work done first.