Time Management Tips for the Unemployed

Time Management Tips for the Unemployed

Now that you are unemployed, your calendar is very open. So, what do you now?

This is something that I have personal experience with.

For some, you are dealing with a swirl of emotions. For others, this is a relief. But you need a job, nevertheless.

In my experience, you need a strategy for how to approach your days while unemployed.

Let’s admit this: Sitting on the couch watching daytime television is not a strategy.

Similarly, spending all day on the computer looking at LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job board sites can also be very counterproductive.

What do you do?  

Here is a time management strategy I use while unemployed

My approach is to partition my day into 4 quadrants.

Why do I do this?

First, you need to treat job search as a full-time job. I have heard it before, “A job search is a marketing job where you are selling a high valued product – You”.

Therefore, you need to treat your job search as a full-time job. And you need to organize your day strategically in a similar fashion.

Quadrant #1: The Job Search

I would spend about a quarter of my day working on my job search. This could involve the following tasks:

  • Maintaining my online presence

  • Reviewing my resume

  • Researching a company

  • Practicing my interview skills

  • Sharpening my branding efforts

  • Talking to recruiters

I continue to be amazed at the numerous resources available online. There are many good companies that can help me.

But I cannot comfortably spend all day in front of my computer. I find this to be a form of solitary confinement and will become counterproductive.

Quadrant #2: Networking

I would devote about a quarter of the day to networking for a new job. This could be online, in-person, or picking up the phone.

Now that I have the time, I intentionally try to connect with people whom I always meant to touch base with. I did not have time in the past while employed. In fact, with some of them, I seek advice and guidance on my next opportunity.

After all, if I don’t let them know I need the help, how would they help me? Equally important, there are people in my network who are also in job search mode.

I do what I can to offer them assistance, whether it be a mock interview or reviewing their resume. The job search can be frustrating. Why not be a source of encouragement and help someone?

Quadrant #3: Personal growth

Another quarter of my day will be spent investing in my personal growth.

I read books that I previously did not have time to read. In recent years, I have become fascinated with the interconnections between new product innovation, business strategy, and organization health.

Some books I have read include:

  • Patterns of Strategy

  • The Drucker Lectures

  • Team of Teams

I have also taken online classes via outlets like LinkedIn Learning.

After all, now that there is time, why not invest in ME and sharpen up my skills?

Quadrant #4: Family time

This may sound obvious, but it nevertheless deserves mention. Since my schedule is not bound to a 9 to 5 job, I intentionally pay more attention to my family.

The flexibility of my schedule allows me to participate in the kids’ field day events, piano concerts, dance recitals, etc. These family memories are priceless.

At the end of the day

Job searches can be very discouraging. But you can stay positive while unemployed.

At the end of the day, a job search will take time. You need to make the best of it.

As you network, invest in yourself and connect with your family and friends, you will be surprised at how it all helps your job search.

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