How To Create An Hour A Day To Focus On Your Job Search

By Gerald Walsh ©

It sounds incredible but many people never make the career shift they want because they don’t find the time to plan and execute a job search. They claim that long hours at work plus personal and family commitments prevent them from spending time on their search.

My response? (I’m sorry but it’s not a very empathetic one.) I tell them it’s like hoping to get fit without exercising. It just won’t happen.

Look at it this way. Your career is the biggest investment you will make in your life. If you earn an average of $50,000 a year, you will make $2,000,000 over the course of your career!

It’s definitely worth the investment of time.

We can all save at least an hour a day (maybe two) by making a few easy changes to our routine. Here are 17 ideas for you to consider:

1. Take a break from social media. (you’re going to hate me for that!). The average person has five social media accounts and spends 1.5 hours browsing these networks daily.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Outsource your housework. If you can afford it, hire someone to mow your lawn, shovel your snow, and do the gardening.

5. Use 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.  

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Declutter. Getting rid of things you never use creates physical space in your home and mental space in your mind. Here's a good book on the topic that got me motivated to declutter.

10. Get up an hour earlier. You will find that extra hour to be the most productive hour of the day.

11. Learn to say ‘no.’ This may take some practice but saying no more often puts you in control your time, not others.

12. Create a quiet work space for yourself in your home if you can. You’ll have fewer interruptions and be more productive.

13. Cut out TV. BBM Canada says the average Canadian watches 30 hours of TV a week.  (I hope these people aren’t on social media also.)

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 at work if the matter can be resolved faster by having a conversation in person or by phone.

16. Exercise four or five times a week.  True, this adds time to your day but if you are fit you will be more productive.

And, last, my favourite:

17. Wear identical socks. Every year or so I throw out all my socks and buy 15 – 20 pairs of new (identical) socks. That’s right – same brand, colour and length. Totally boring, no question. But I never waste time pairing them up and I never have mismatched socks.


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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