Part 3 - The Space between your Ears - Putting Routine Tasks on Autopilot
Now that you have selected your hotspots and have a good operating platform, you are almost ready to launch your job search for real. But, even after your great head start, if the specter of a job search still seems daunting, here are 3 simple tactics you can use to help get you off the ground:
a. One Small Step at a Time
Follow the old adage of “how to eat an elephant” and break the larger challenge into small manageable bites. By using your new task management system (discussed in Part 2) and sticking to regular daily time slots (discussed in Part 1), you can knock out your tasks, one by one, in the order necessary to move you forward. Whether the given task is repetitive or unique, set a reasonable time frame to work on it and set measurable standards for its completion. The automated prompting features in your calendar software can serve as a good time cop if you need to be nagged. The point is to move through each task in the time you allocated and keep marking off accomplishments on your daily score card. Of course, you should be sure to work on the “right things” (meaning the productive things) as opposed to just anything. But do the little things well and big things will start to happen.
b. Dusting and Vacuuming
Let’s face it. Many job search tasks are no fun. Doing almost anything else may seem preferable at the time. Few people enjoy a household chore, but once they know (i) exactly how to do it and (ii) exactly how long it takes, they can treat it as a necessary evil and mindlessly knock it out. Likewise, many job search tasks do not involve that much creativity once you know how to perform them. This is not to say they are unimportant or ineffective. But you can find simple, predictable, and repetitive steps even within the most subjective job search activities such as research, correspondence, or interviewing. As you proceed, keep your eyes open for productive tasks that lend themselves to being repetitive or mechanical. Instead of paralysis of analysis, see if you can convert them into them into daily no-brainers.
c. Gaming the System
Sooner or later, the job search will require you to put your fate in the hands of strangers. Fear of rejection can be a huge stumbling block for a lot of job seekers at this stage. A great way to take the personal sting out of these situations is to turn them into a little game you play behind the scenes. You can set this game up in many ways, but the object is to keep score based on positive reactions that lead you to next steps versus negative reactions that do not. As part of your game, you will expect to have many encounters or “plays” with a higher percent of losses than wins. You can create as elaborate a point system as you like, but the ultimate goal is constantly to improve your loss-to-win ratio until the game is over – meaning until you’re hired.
Searching for a job can be intimidating, difficult, and stressful. But if you get well organized at the outset and stay that way throughout the process, you can greatly minimize many of the frustrations. A high degree of personal organization will also be very noticeable to prospective employers as well as a tremendous asset you can bring into your new job once you land it.
Guest Blogger: Terry Watterson
Bio: Terry is the President of Reployment and a Career Coach with ePropelr. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Rollins College and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an attorney and entrepreneur, he specializes in products and services that help job seekers successfully navigate the career transition process.
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