By Gerald Walsh ©
Trying to find time to look for a job can be overwhelming. This can be especially challenging when you are trying to balance your job search activities with family, work, your personal life, and other obligations.
It sounds inconceivable but I know of people who never make the career shift they want because (they claim) they cannot find the time to plan and execute a job search.
I am not very empathetic. I say to them it’s like hoping to get fit without exercising. Unfortunately—unless you find the time—it just won’t happen.
Everyone can gain at least an hour a day (maybe two) by making a few easy changes to your routine. Here are 16 ideas for you to consider:
1. Take a break from social media. You’re going to hate me for that, but the average person has five social media accounts and spends, on average, 1.5 hours daily browsing these networks.
2. Get organized at home. Knowing exactly where your socks and underwear are will save you a lot of time in the morning. In the kitchen, put things back where you got them. And, leave your keys in the same place every night so you don’t have to search for them all the time.
3. Use checklists and daily to-do lists. Working from a list will increase your productivity. Do the most important things first and set a time limit for each task. The Checklist Manifesto book was one of my favourite reads in 2018.
4. Prepare your meals in advance. Make large pots of one thing (soups, stew, etc.) so you have food ready for several meals. You’ll save time shopping and cooking.
5. Declutter. Getting rid of things you never use creates physical space in your home and mental space in your mind. Here's a great book on decluttering.
6. Get up an hour earlier. You will find that extra hour to be the most productive hour of the day. Here is an article by Robin Sharma, author of The 5 AM Club.
7. Learn to say ‘no.’ This may take some practice but saying no more often puts you in control your time, not others.
8. Never reply to emails that end in “Thoughts?” You’ll be dragged into an endless conversation. Same thing if you are cc’d on an email. If you were meant to reply, they would have sent it to you directly.
9. Outsource your housework. If you can afford it, hire someone to mow your lawn, shovel your snow, and do the gardening.
10. Cut out TV. The average Canadian watches 30 hours of TV a week. (I hope these people aren’t on social media also.)
11. Create a quiet work space for yourself in your home if you can. You’ll have fewer interruptions and be more productive.
12. Wear the same thing every day. I don’t mean literally the same clothes every day but you can cut down on your clothing options to eliminate indecision about what to wear. Think of how the late Steve Jobs always wore a black turtleneck and jeans. Boring, for sure, but you can see how it would save time.
13. Automate bill payment. Your internet, cable, phone and insurance can all be paid directly through automatic payments. Not only will it save time, you’ll never be late with a payment.
14. Skip meetings at work if you can avoid them. These are probably the biggest time wasters known to mankind.
15. Don’t send emails if the matter can be resolved faster by having a conversation in person or by phone.
16. Exercise four or five times a week. Although this adds time to your day, you will be more productive if you are fit.
To share your thoughts on this blog post, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh