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Time Management


Time management is a critical issue for job seekers. For those currently employed and seeking work, often it feels that there is not enough time in the day to devote to an employment search. For job seekers that have more time available, the concern is more on how to spend time wisely when there are so many possibilities, or conversely for long-time job seekers to find the motivation to continue to allocate time doing activities which theoretically seem like the right thing to do, but haven’t yet produced tangible results.

If we stop and take a look at some environments that are anti-time management, we might learn what not to do. For instance, I have spent some time in casinos in Las Vegas over the years. From what I remember, you will not find one clock in the tens of casinos in this city. This is certainly not by chance, as casino management does not want to encourage gamblers to make time commitments. The focus is meant to be on continued betting, and the lack of clocks is one component of this strategy (free alcohol doesn’t hurt either).

Coincidently (or not), the synagogue where I attended High Holiday services this year also was without a clock. Now, I am not accusing the gabbaim or anyone else of doubting the ability of congregants to keep their minds and souls concentrated on the prayers for a sustained period of time, but it could be that the lack of a clock does play its part as one less distraction.

Job seekers have very different interests regarding time management. For those between jobs, the lack of structure itself can be problematic by definition. There is no external pressure to get out of bed, wear proper clothes (pajamas don’t count!), and get to work searching for your next job. Even though there are things to be done to move forward, it is easy to procrastinate.

Here are some points to consider:

§ Create daily objectives, manageable activities that are productive. For instance, you will contact three new people each day, send out five CVs, research three companies, follow-up after one week on previously sent CVs or interviews you went on.

§ If two-thirds of all jobs are not publicly advertised, it doesn’t make sense to spend 90% of your job search time on Internet sites and newspapers. Although it is simple to spend hours on the Internet applying for jobs, an activity which can also give you the feeling of accomplishing something, don’t substitute this for networking by telephone or in person with professionals of interest. Spend time on job-search activities in proportion to how productive they are.

§ Make sure your workspace and work hours are suitable, maximizing your ability to focus and minimizing interruptions. Build a system using Excel or whatever works for you to keep track of your activities.

§ Everyone has probably heard the saying that looking for a job is a full-time job. However, it is very difficult to concentrate on a job search 8+ hours/day. Limit your job search to a manageable amount of time each day, and don’t exceed this target. When you have reached your allotment, find fun/relaxing things to do. You can now do this worry-free, as you already spent a productive day seeking employment opportunities.

Using your valuable job search time wisely and balancing this activity with the other significant things in your life is an excellent way to enable a sustainable effort towards your employment goal.

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