When you’re stuck in an awful job and imagining a brighter future, the idea of being boss of your time may sound blissful. And it could be, at first. But if you’re out of work without any structure, it’s hard to know where to focus. Here are 3 simple ways to give shape to the day, to help land your next job.
Establish a Morning Routine
One of my heroes is Twyla Tharp, the renowned dancer and choreographer. In her book, The Creative Habit, she writes about the importance of a morning ritual:
“I begin each day of my life with a ritual; I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I workout for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual. It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it — makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.”
Not everyone has the steely discipline of Twyla Tharp. (I certainly don’t.) But there are things I do every morning to get motivated. The ritualizing of it is key, so when you’re creating a morning routine, set a time frame and fixed order for your activities, so you don’t have to think about it. Test it out for a few weeks to see what needs tweaking. Here are suggestions for some elements you might want to include in your routine:
Writing a few pages in a Journal –
check out the beautiful Askew Journal by Baron Fig in collaboration with Debbie Millman
Visioning (what would you most like to accomplish that day)
Build in a Metric
When you’re looking to land your next job, the one obvious metric of success is getting offered a position and accepting it. But that leaves days, weeks and maybe months leading up to that moment when there’s no clear measure of achievement. And that’s why searching for work can be soul crushing. But here’s the antidote – build in small wins. Set goals each week that are achievable and quantifiable. As an example, let’s take expanding your network. I’m choosing this as a template because it’s one of the most important facets of a job search. Maybe your goal will be to connect to 5 people each week who could either directly help, or know someone who can help with your career. Write down a list of these names. Once you’ve scheduled a meeting, take pleasure in checking the name off. And when you hit 5, exhale deeply and celebrate.
Create Hard Deadlines
To land your next job, you’ll probably have to update your resume and Linkedin profile. I don’t know anyone who enjoys these tasks, unless they’re getting paid to do it for someone else. Check out my previous post for tips on improving your resume. Rather than letting this chore clog up space in your brain, set a hard deadline for when you want to complete a first draft. And don’t give yourself an abundance of lead time. 2-3 days are enough. Remember to do this particularly with the stuff you’re dreading (like contacting that old friend or colleague with whom you’ve lost touch who could REALLY be an asset right now.) Deadlines focus the mind.
To make all of this happen, you’ll need to be accountable. Write down your weekly tasks. Tell a friend about your specific weekly goals. And if you want more guidance and encouragement, get in touch with me. Together, we’ll create a winning plan to land your next job.
For a set of daily exercises to jumpstart your action plan, click here: