If you are currently employed with a busy schedule, it is hard to find time to job search for your next opportunity. If you are currently unemployed, it can be hard to stay focused on the most important tasks when you don’t have a schedule.
Today, I am giving you some ideas of how to organize your time and calendar so you can stay focused and balanced – and find your dream job.
Get Organized: How to Find Time to Job Search
1) Clear Your Tolerations
Tolerations are things in your life that just tolerate. They could be as simple as the shirt sitting in your closet that you have been meaning to return for weeks or something you can’t stand about the co-worker you sit next to.
When I first created my tolerations list, some of the things I was tolerating was a messy desk, a folder on my desk that reminded me of a major disappointment (that I looked at every day!), a bag of dry cleaning I kept forgetting to take to the dry cleaners, and a messy closet that I majorly needed to organize.
When I spent a weekend clearing my tolerations, I plugged my energy drains and immediately had more energy, happiness, and joy. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and was ready to begin something new.
Even things you don’t think you have any control over, such as a boss or co-worker you can’t stand, you might be surprised at what happens just by writing these things down. First, it makes you feel better because it is all on paper rather than just in your head. Second, changes might start happening that you will be more aware of.
What are you tolerating right now? What do you hate about your career and life? Write down a list of 10 things you are tolerating and spend a weekend plugging these energy drains if you can. This is almost as important as job searching because it is going to free up your mind and energy.
It is going to make room and space for new opportunities to come your way. It will help you find time to job search. It is time to clear the clutter and perfect the present.
2) Batch, Baby!
If you fail to plan out your day, you will start answering whatever email, text, or social media message comes your way. When job searching, your time is more important than ever. Just 15 more minutes per day could help you find that next career opportunity! You can’t allow your distractions to dictate your actions. You also can’t let other people’s priorities go before your own.
Did you know that every time you are distracted, it takes 15 minutes to regain complete focus again? And, we all know how distracting Facebook and Pinterest can be!
This is why I recommend batching. Batching is when you group similar tasks into blocks of time. During this time you have no interruptions or distractions. You can maximize your concentration and really focus on the task at hand. You will complete tasks faster because they are grouped to streamline completion.
You will increase mental sharpness, creativity, and productivity. This will decrease stress, fatigue, and procrastination.
How can you group similar items together? Here are some recommendations:
Only respond to emails at certain times of the day ( 8 am, 12 pm, and 4 pm). The other times turn your email off.
Check your social media accounts at certain times of the day (20 minutes in morning/20 minutes at night)
Spend 30 focused minutes interacting and networking on LinkedIn groups
Spend one day attending as many networking events as possible. This way you will be all dressed up and ready to hit the events and won’t spend hours driving and getting ready the rest of the week.
Spend 45 minutes looking for online jobs and emailing the job postings back to yourself. Spend another 45 minutes actually completing the online applications.
Spend 30 minutes working on your resume and cover letter.
Spend 30 minutes reading the career advice on my blog uninterrupted.
Spend one morning knocking out all of your laundry for the week.
Buy enough groceries for two weeks, so you don’t have to go every other day.
3) Practice The Pareto
The Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule) states that 20% of your input creates 80% of your results. That means during your job search; you must focus on what is working. You need to focus on the 20% of what is going to make the difference in your job search to save time and get faster results. 80% of what you are doing right now could be a waste of time. I want you to focus like a laser on the 20% of your job search actions that produce 80% of your employment leads.
What does this mean for you, the job searcher?
80% of job leads are found through networking. 20% are found through online applications. You must make time to network every day because that is going to get you the best results. Many people just sit behind their computers and don’t network. This is focusing on the 80% that isn’t going to get you the best results. You will do better by getting out there and networking than working on your resume all day.
What else does this mean?
The top 20% of your resume is the most important section of your resume. Make it awesome.
The first 1-2 minutes of your interviews are the most important. Make a great first impression.
4) Free Up Your Time
Your job search is SO IMPORTANT right now. It is going to determine your future and your happiness, so you need to be very focused and selfish with your time. Even though your sister wants you to babysit and you are unemployed does not mean that you can babysit. Your full-time job needs to be job searching.
I want you to automate, systematize, and delegate as much as possible.
Automate: Free up your time by automating little things. Little chunks of time can really add up! For instance, instead of paying your bills manually, have your bills paid automatically through your bank with bill pay. Instead of doing your own budget, have a system like mint.com calculate your budget and expenses for you.
Systemize: Have a system ready for your job search process. Go back to your long-term goals create a systemized to-do list to meet each long-term goal. Have a system for networking that includes a reminder when to follow-up with a contact or to send a thank you email immediately after an event.
Delegate: What tolerations do you hate that you can delegate? Hire a housekeeper if you can’t stand cleaning. Ask a friend to help you clean out your closet. Find a dinner preparation store, so you don’t have to prepare dinner. Hire an accountant, so you don’t have to spend the time to do your taxes. Hire a teenager to run errands for you. Think about how much your time is worth, and get rid of tasks that are not worth your time.
5) Find Your Best Time
Not everyone can jump out of bed in the mornings and get to work. Not everyone can do his or her best work from 1 am-4 am. When are you the most focused? Morning, afternoon or night?
Don’t spend your BEST TIME watching television. Spend your best time focusing on what is the most important to you right now – finding your dream job and getting your career unstuck.
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