The thing about being unemployed is there becomes little difference between the weekends and the weekdays. Recently, my dad and I drove from Northern California to Los Angeles, and stayed at my aunt’s house for the night. My other aunt and uncle joined us for dinner as well. We were talking about the week as we ate, and suddenly someone asked what day it was. Sitting around the table, we all looked blankly at each other. Between the five of us, four were retired and my job recently ended, we had no idea what day it was.
My uncle dug out his phone, “it’s Thursday!”
Oh yes, Thursday.
The following Monday is when I kicked things into gear, reviewing what I need to do, developing goals, outlining tasks, and creating my routine for each day. For me, it starts with finding a blank notebook, a good pen, the Evernote App, self discipline, and coffee.
Make Each Day Important
There is an importance of not losing track of days. Time slips by quickly enough when you go to work five days a week. Don’t let it disappear when you have this chance to do so much. Create a routine and stick to it. Everyone’s preferred schedule is different, but creating a daily routine helps ensure you are productive in your job search and don’t let the time slip away. Things I do each day include:
- Writing down daily goals and a to do list
- Leave the house day (walk the dog, go to the gym, etc.)
- At the end of each day I document what I accomplished each day, from networking or training, to laundry. I want to give myself credit for getting stuff done
Every time I’ve been laid off, I’ve ended up in a better place (in the long run). Every. Single. Time. While maintaining a positive focus is important, there are those days where it is hard and depressing. It’s hard looking for a job, it’s hard answering questions about why you haven’t found one, it’s hard being rejected. Nothing about this is easy.
Tips for keeping a positive focus, and finding a new job:
- Reach out. Touch base with friends and family, use them for support during this time. The caveat here is that you may need to ask them to stop asking if you’ve found a job yet. It’s an irritating question when it usually takes a while to find a new position. Not always, but usually. As the months drag on, you can only keep a smile on your face while responding, “not yet” for so long.
- Network. Make time for friends, former colleagues, and meet new people. Make sure they know what position you’re looking for as well as your target companies/industries.
- Educational interviews. If you find yourself interested in doing something new, research target companies, industries, and/or careers you’re interested in. Find people in those roles on LinkedIn, see who your connections in common are, see what groups they belong to. Most people are excited to talk about themselves, just as many are willing to help. Be bold, ask to talk to them.
- Groups/MeetUps. Find groups, clubs, or even associations, focused on areas you’re interested in. From acting to zoology, whatever it is that interests you, there’s a group about it. This will get you out of your house (unless it’s online), connecting with more people and take your mind off your job search.
- Free! Take advantage of free activities and events in your city: Free museum day, library events (Shakespeare!), concerts, farmer’s markets, etc. Get out, be around people and use this opportunity to connect with friends and take your mind off your job search.
- Learn. What is it you have always wanted to learn to help your career, and haven’t had the time? You do now, so take advantage of it. In this way, being unemployed can become a gift of sorts. I became certified in Inbound Marketing this morning, it’s exciting learning new things!
- Search. Continue actively looking for a job. Make it part of your routine and work on it every day. From Craig’s List, to indeed.com, to LinkedIn, Twitter, and job boards, stay connected with what is going on, what companies are hiring, and stay on point.
- Document. Write down what you want, what you’re looking for and put it in a prominent place. This helps you on the harder days to remember what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Reviewing your accomplishments and progress towards your goals helps here as well.
- Workout. Because endorphins.
Those are my tips, do you have any other tips for creating and maintaining a routine when you’re between jobs? Share them in the comments below!