Dedicated Areas For Various Aspects Of Your Time

Dedicated Areas For Various Aspects Of Your Life

Dedicated Areas For Various Aspects Of Your Time

Setting up dedicated areas for various aspects of your time is one way to help yourself manage your time better.  If you have a specific area to accomplish a goal, you’ll be able to get your mind dedicated faster to that one task. It might seem like a pipe dream, but if you really want to be creative, find a space that makes you feel creative and go to it each time you need that extra creative spark. In that way, you become more in charge of how your time is spent.  As part of your job search, I encourage you to create a space in your home to work.  If you don’t have a home office, you can setup a simple space for your job search.  Here are some other suggestions to help manage your time and other activities in your life.

Specific Areas In Your Home

A Reading Cubby – You may have had one in elementary school, a little place that you could go for quiet reading time. You can do this at home easily by just setting up a chair in the corner of a living room, bedroom or office that is set up with good light for reading and if necessary the proper electronic components if you want to read by laptop or Kindle.

A Mail Checking Station – This works especially for snail mail and is best if it’s close to the trashcan. Get the mail in, and immediately go through it, tossing the trash, and then taking the mail to the computer in order to schedule, process and pay bills. If possible, make this separate from your work area that you have dedicated for your job search in order to avoid distractions.

TV Time – It’s very different to get work done, or even read a book with the TV blaring. Having technology in the bedroom is also not conducive to a good night’s sleep. During a proper job search, you’ll be too busy to watch TV during the day, so don’t even turn it on.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner – Eating is a very important part of your day and should be treated as such. If you eat all over your home and office there is no true break or time to digest your food. Take the time to set the table, and eat at the table or breakfast bar in order to differentiate the time spent on eating, versus time working on networking calls or perfecting your resume.

Organize For Productivity

Setting up dedicated areas for various aspects of your time will help you differentiate your time better, be more organized, and get more done than you thought possible. Creating dedicated areas for specific activities is an excellent time management tip that will work for most people.




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Putting Your Schedule In Writing

Putting Your Schedule In Writing

Putting Your Schedule In Writing

Putting your schedule in a writing is guaranteed to make you more efficient.  The hardest part about time management is making a real commitment to following a schedule. It can be especially difficult for people who want to work for themselves or who are unemployed to work on any type of schedule. Keeping a schedule is going to increase your success exponentially. Putting your schedule in writing will help you follow it.

Putting Your Schedule In Writing With Technology

Use Your Smartphone – Today’s cell phones are really mini computers. You can have your entire life on there, including your work schedule with alarm reminders.  If you see a popup on your phone every time you go to use Facebook, reminding you of tasks that need to be done, you will not have much of an excuse for not doing them.

Try Google Calendar – If you have a Gmail account, then you already have access to a powerful system that can help you put your time in writing, while helping you keep track. You can easily set up different calendars for different aspects of your life and color code the entries. Further you can print out a calendar each day or sync to your smartphone so that you don’t forget anything.

A Project Management System – Project management systems like Basecamp can help you put your schedule into writing, and organize it too. The software is designed for people to assign tasks to others, but you can use this system by just assigning the work to yourself.  You’ll get an email reminder before the task is due.

Evernote is a nifty little program that can be used to help you keep track of your schedule, notes for projects, and more. There are free and upgraded subscription based levels.  The free version gives you a lot of tools to manage your schedule and tasks.  The system can also be used as your virtual file cabinet allowing you to make notes, save documents, files and more.

Putting Your Schedule In Writing The Old Fashioned Way

Try the “Old-Fashioned” Date Book – The old Filofax still exists and many people prefer it to using technology. If you’re one that does, don’t despair because many people stay better organized with everything in writing in one single notebook. If that’s you, you can still do it that way.  Covey planners or generic planners and calendars are also still highly effective.

Use a Large Whiteboard – The great thing about having a large whiteboard on your office wall is you can’t escape the tasks that need to be done since they are very obvious. You can also feel accomplished as you erase things as they get done.  If you have setup a place to work in your home, consider using a whiteboard to track important tasks.

Putting your schedule in writing and sticking to it requires commitment.  If you move the two hours you wanted to work on a particular project, due to a family emergency, you need to then take time from elsewhere to replace the two hours you were going to work on your job search.  Seeing the schedule in writing will help you schedule things the best by making a visual representation of your day.


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Seven Time Saving Tips For Managing Email

Seven Time Saving Tips For Managing Email

Seven Time Saving Tips For Managing Email

Email saves a lot of time, and these seven time saving tips for managing email will help you use email to be more organized, set tasks, and more.

Spend Time On The Most Effective Activities

Email is great, but can also get out of control and suck up a lot of time if you’re not organized.  Spend the most time during your job search on the activities that will be most effective like networking and creating your interview stories.

  1. Set Specific Times for Checking Your Email – Don’t keep your email notifications on all day long so that you’re constantly dealing with email. Instead, choose specific times during the day to check email, at the very least first thing in the morning, after lunch, and about an hour before the close of business. Let your people know your schedule.
  2. Keep Email Replies Short and Simple – You don’t want to write really long emails to anyone. If you do, people will get confused and not really understand your answer. At the most an email answer should be about three or four short paragraphs. If you include bullet points it will be easier for the recipient to act on.
  3. Use Rules, Filters, Labels and Folders – Remember that simple is better than complicated so don’t go too crazy with these, but do create labels and/or rules and filter to help you organize your mail better.
  4. Read Emails and Act Immediately – When you open an email, take care of it immediately. Read it, then act. If it requires nothing, delete it; if it has something interesting you want to note, use a note-taking program to save it. If it has a task, copy and paste into your to-do list and calendar.
  5. Create Separate Email Addresses – The great thing about email addresses is in most cases you’re not limited to how many you can have. Don’t go nuts, but do create a separate email for unimportant information such as business that requires an email sign-up to view information, or non-relevant newsletters. Separate customer service addresses are good too.
  6. Be Free with the Delete Key – It’s tempting to save all those cool newsletters with great points and things to learn, but the truth is, you’re not likely to ever read them again. Use your note-taking tool to keep the most important points, and then delete.
  7. Copy Tasks to Your Calendar Immediately – Use your calendar to its fullest advantage by copying and pasting anything with a date in it to your calendar immediately. If it’s a task, copy and paste to your project management system too in order to stay on track with your activities.

Using these time saving tips for managing email will help you make the most of every day. Taming the email monster will pay off in many ways and give you back more time each day to use on more important tasks.

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Adding Fun To Your Job Search

Adding Fun To Your Job Search

Adding Fun To Your Job Search

Adding fun to your job search is essential to your success.  As they say, all work and no play makes you dull, but what it really does is make you stressed out, and ineffective.  Especially those who are unemployed.  If you are in a full time job search or desperately trying to replace your current job, you need time to relax.  The internet makes it possible to search for jobs 24 hours per day, but you’ll be more focused and productive if you take scheduled breaks by adding fun to your job search.

Tips For Adding Fun To Your Job Search

Read a Chapter of a Book – No, don’t read something about your industry. Read something simple and mindless or choose a topic in history that you always wanted to learn about.

Play A Game – There are many different games you can choose today, from games online to video games to old-fashioned games on paper. Take just 15 minutes or so to play a round or two of a game that you enjoy and don’t think of anything else while you’re doing it. Set the timer. Time flies when you’re playing games.

Create an Art Project – Want to learn to paint, knit or sew? Why not start now. You can learn something new and find a hobby that takes your mind out of your job search. Painting is really good for that because you can be abstract and not exact on your creations. It will teach you that imperfections can be beautiful.

Exercise – Join a gym or workout at home. There are plenty of cost effective ways to enjoy some form of physical activity.  This is important during your job search especially if you are not following a regular fitness plan.  Exercising three times per week will increase your confidence which is definitely a benefit during any job search.

Get in a Hot Tub Or Sauna– If you have access to a hot tub or sauna, get in and take time to just relax. Different smells will give you different feelings. Try mint for more energy, lavender to calm down.

Take a Vacation – Yes – even if you are unemployed, you should take a vacation.  I’m not suggesting doing something that you can’t afford, but be creative.  Do you have a tent and campground near by? Do you live near a beach?  Go see friends or relatives.  Vacations don’t have to be expensive and are necessary n order to regain your focus and creativity.  Try taking more three-day weekend vacations where you disconnect and unplug so that you can come back refreshed and ready to work.

Take a Nap – A 20-minute power nap can do wonders helping you become more creative. You need someplace good to nap such as a cool bedroom or a comfortable couch in your office. Pull the shades, turn off the technology, and set an alarm.

Take in a Movie – Whether you go to the theater or watch instantly on Netflix, a good movie can take you to a whole new world. Most movies are one to two hours long, so plan this one into your schedule carefully.

It’s important to prioritize adding fun to your job search to maximize your productivity and creativity. These activities get you out of your head and can get your creative juices flowing.  Just be sure to stick to your schedule so that doesn’t take over completely and that your job search suffers.  Make a plan and stick to it – you will soon see the results.

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Time Management Tips When Unemployed

Time Management Tips When Unemployed

Time Management Tips When Unemployed

An article by Andrew Klappholz that was originally posted in 2012 for The Ladders offers time management tips when unemployed.  There is some excellent advice in this piece and you can find the full article here.

Career coach Tammy Gooler Loeb is quoted and says this about job searches while unemployed, “The downside is that you have too much time.”

The author, Andrew Klappholz writes,  “To fill that time, Loeb suggests a job search schedule that resembles a regular 9-5, Monday-Friday work routine. For example: wake up at 7 a.m., make coffee, shower, get dressed and hit the job boards right away. Then spend the whole morning researching companies online, e-mailing and calling people in your network. For lunch, you’re entitled to a quick break but make it shorter than a “regular” lunch break because as an unemployed worker, you no longer have that luxury. The rest of the day be should spent following up on applications you’ve sent out in the previous week, and crafting an effective communication strategy for the next round of possible job opportunities.”

The Internet Never Sleeps

Klappholz and Gooler Loeb offer excellent time management tips when unemployed, I would emphasize that online activities should be scheduled strategically.

Tools like LinkedIn and other social network sites make it possible to research companies and network 24 hours a day.  These tools are valuable, but  schedule time for work to be done online after regular business hours.

Reserve Your Time During Business Hours

Schedule your daily job search activities strategically.  Instead of looking at job boards and postings between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., reserve this time for activities that cannot be done outside of business hours.

Reserve time during prime business hours for making phone calls, attending industry or networking events, sending follow-up emails and attending appointments.  Use this time to schedule job interviews and informational interviews.  You might even join a volunteer group for a few hours each week.

Online After Hours

One time management tip while unemployed is to plan your online search activities after 5:00. When unemployed your job search is your full time job.  In a recent post, I wrote that you should schedule time for fun during a job search, but I would also encourage you to work at your job search 50-55 hours per week.  Forty hours should be a minimum if you need to find work.  Schedule a couple of hours after 5:00 o’clock for your online tasks

Plan Your Online Job Search Time

Social networking can easily suck you into a time draining funnel.  You need a plan to avoid losing valuable time.  Block out time for online research with an outline of what you will research online and stick to your plan.

A two hour online work session might look like this:

30 Min:

Research job openings in my town using these keywords:  sales, sales manager  relationship manager, account manager.

Make a list of job postings of interest and continue your research.

30 Min:

Customize your resume for each position and then submit.  Save each new version with a name you will recognize later.  Reserve time tomorrow to follow up with the hiring manager or HR contact for this opportunity.

30 Min:

Find LinkedIn Group conversations related to your expertise and add comments or answer questions.  This adds to your network and shows potential employers that you are knowledgeable in that area.

30 Min

Research a potential employer from your target list of employers.

Follow these time management tips while unemployed to be as efficient as possible in your job search.

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Time Management In Your Job Search

Time Management In Your Job Search

Time management in your job search is something that you must exercise.  Looking for your job or starting your own business can be overwhelming because of the number of things to do in the beginning stages.  Time is not limitless. You can’t get more. You can’t work harder to get more of it; it’s a finite resource that cannot be increased or replaced.

Be Ruthless About Time Management In Your Job Search

When you realize that time is finite and that there really might not be some future distant tomorrow, you might start being more ruthless with the time you’ve got. Follow these tips to make time management so much easier.

  • Just Say No – The biggest factor in being ruthless with your time is learning to say no. If you really do not want to do something, you must say no. You may not feel like you are being helpful, but you have to put your time and your job search goals first.
  • Get Up On Time – This is a hard one for many but it doesn’t have to be hard as you think.  If you are currently unemployed, treat each morning as if you are going to work.  Follow the steps on this website for your job search strategy and each day will be full of productive activities
  • Turn Off Technology – The very thing that is supposed to make our time more productive can have the opposite effect too. The notifications of new emails, your Facebook stream, and unscheduled time on Pinterest can get out of hand. Multi-Tasking is a myth, so turn off the technology and let your mind rest. You’ll gain so much more time. That includes your TV, too.
  • Make Lists – If you understand each step that goes behind a calendar listing, it will be more beneficial because it’s easier to allocate enough time for each thing when you know what it takes to complete any given task. You won’t be able to accurately determine the time it takes without all the information.
  • Time Block It – Put everything in your calendar including everyday tasks, small steps for a project due in the future, and time with family, friends and yourself. Don’t skip this step so that when someone asks for your time you can easily schedule them in (or not) based on your availability.
  • Touch “It” Only Once – Another way to be ruthless with your time is to not allow yourself to wait to do things later. If you get an email that requires a response, do it now. If you check your snail mail and a bill needs to be paid, schedule it now. If you get junk mail, delete it now. Only check your mail when you have time to deal with these issues.

Schedule Time For Fun

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself in terms of the hours you schedule yourself to work. Yes, be ruthless about the schedule, but also schedule in fun time. Go ahead, schedule 8 to 10 hours a day of work. But, in between, schedule in breaks. Time with friends, family and spouses during any given work day is important too. Also, remember to schedule in breaks like weekends and vacations. If you do that, it’ll be so much easier to be ruthless with time and stick to your schedule normally. Use these tips for time management in your job search when scheduling your daily activities and you will feel productive every day.

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How to Create a Time Management Plan

How To Create A Time Management Plan

Creating a time management plan keeps you from wasting time. Having a plan makes every hour count, ensures that you get to work more quickly and helps distribute your time over all the tasks that you need to do each day, week, month and year.  Creating a time management plan is an imperative if you want to be successful in your job search

 Eight Tips For Creating A Time Management Plan

  1. Be Realistic With Your Plans – Don’t go against your own internal clock when planning each day. If you know you struggle to get up in the morning, do not schedule things in the early morning hours. If you can manage in the mornings if you do tasks you like first, try that.
  2. Set Time Limits – This is especially important for both tasks you dislike and tasks you like. You always have a risk of procrastination when it comes to tasks you hate by spending too much time on tasks you like.
  3. Eliminate Distractions – One of the biggest killers of any plan that you set are distractions such as television, interrupting phone calls, social media, and yes – children and spouses. While nothing is ever perfect, you can eliminate most distractions by planning ahead about how to deal with them. Turn off the TV, turn off the phone, use social media only at certain times with a timer set, and explain to children and spouses the importance of not bothering you while you are working.
  4. Differentiate Important from Non-Important Tasks – One of the hardest tasks before you when creating a time management plan is understanding what is important and what is not important. If you make it a habit to do the most important things first, you’re going to feel more accomplished and get more done.
  5. Use a Calendar and Technology – Where would we be without technology? Using Google Calendar or another system synced to your phone is a great way to ensure that your calendar is always with you and that you don’t forget things. You can even set reminders and alarms to help.
  6. Eliminate Urgency from Your Life – This can be difficult but most things really aren’t urgent. If you are a service provider, stop taking last-minute work; train your clients to give you plenty of time to work tasks into your schedule. If you set family time and play time into your schedule too, that will eliminate the need for a last-minute meltdown from the toddler too.
  7. Create and Use Lists – It is one thing to note on your calendar “work on project A” but it’s quite another to list exactly what you are to do during that time period on project A. This is the most effective way to schedule your time so that you meet your goals. Be very specific with lists so that no time is wasted.
  8. Create a Daily Action Plan– There should always be at least four or five things that you can do each day toward any future goal that you have to help you feel accomplished. Plus, having a variety of things to do each day will eliminate boredom and procrastination.

A Time Management Plan Is Essential

Creating a time management plan is an essential element in creating success. Most successful people live and die by their calendars. When you meet someone and wonder how in the world she does it all, it’s probably a very thought-out and coordinated schedule that allows her to accomplish so much.  During your job search, you must have a time management plan and manage your time because looking for your dream job is demanding and requires organization.


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Build Your Job Search Tool Kit

Job SearchTool Kit

Prepare To Find Your Dream Job

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity and preparation for any job search needs to include a basic job search tool kit.

For some, a dream job is an opportunity to ascend the corporate ladder while others want to build a business large or small.  Some seasoned professionals desire to leave the corporate world to start their own business to gain the flexibility to enjoy more time for friends and family.

The concept of a dream job is any opportunity that uses our passions, skills and experience to support our ideal.  Any effective career change includes the same basic strategy of preparation and planning, networking and selling yourself.  You may also be selling products if you are an entrepreneur.  Your job search tool kit will be the foundation of your preparation and the cornerstone of your dream job strategy.

Mental Preparation

If you are going to aggressively go after your goal with an intense passion, mental preparation should be part of your efforts.  At the beginning of any career search, you may need to assess the challenges you’ll face.  A large percentage of new small businesses fail not because of a poor product, but because of improper planning for the financial pressures that come with starting a business.  The pressures are the same in a career search if you are unemployed and looking for your next opportunity. Be prepared by evaluating your personal financial situation.

 Dedicated Work Space

Starting a new business or a job search campaign are serious ventures and you will benefit from having a dedicated work space somewhere in your home.  The area doesn’t have to be big and could even be a small desk or table in the corner of a bedroom.  You just need a place where you can focus on your goals each day without distraction.  Setting up a work space can be a fast and simple way to kick off your efforts.

Tell Great Stories

Your job search tool kit needs to include some stories that you can tell in a variety of situations that will make people take notice and make you or your product memorable.  You’ll need to prepare Three “C” stories to relay your experience and value that you or your new business provide.

Elevator stories are another essential tool in your job search tool kit.  You should have a few basic versions depending on your audience and the time you have to grab the attention of your audience.

Networking Lists

The most essential as an entrepreneur and of a job search campaign is networking.  Expanding and connecting with your network is so vital, that you need a dedicated strategy just for this part of the job search tool kit.

Plan to build to research and compile a target list of companies.  You will also create a separate list of connections and you will need a plan to manage your network.

LinkedIn and your LinkedIn profile is also an important part of your tool box because the networking site will help you manage your network, make new contacts and give you a platform to publish your ideas and expand your influence.

Plan to Win

Start preparing with your job search tool kit and be ready to meet every opportunity clarity and focus.  Your excellent preparation will bring great luck with every new opportunity because luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.

Your Job Search Tool Kit

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LinkedIn Job Search Profile Tips

LinkedIn Job Search Profile Tips

LinkedIn Job Search Profile Tips

Networking is the most effective way to find a job.  You can get a jump start online with a few LinkedIn job search profile tips.  LinkedIn is the online site where professionals go to search for candidates.  Employers also use LinkedIn to research candidates sourced by other methods.  If possible, you should setup your LinkedIn account before beginning your job search.  If you are starting your job search unexpectedly, follow these LinkedIn Job search profile tips and setup your profile right away.  Perfect your profile later, the point is to get started so employers can find you.

Make Online Connections

The power of LinkedIn is the potential to gain visibility of those with whom you are connected and making new connections.  Use your offline networking list to connect with people already in your network.  Ask for recommendations from some close professional relationships.  Be sure to send a thank you note for the recommendation outside of LinkedIn.  This is a perfect opportunity to mention your job search.

The Power of Groups

LinkedIn is an excellent way build the illusion of ubiquity.  Members can establish themselves as experts in their field and begin to communicate with industry leaders.  Joining and participating in LinkedIn groups enables you to improve your visibility by contributing ideas and offering solutions to questions and challenges posted by other users.  Be strategic when joining groups.  If there are people you’d like to meet in your industry, view their profile and find out which groups they belong to.  Hang out online where the leaders in your industry will take notice.

Post Regularly

Speaking of building your online visibility, this list of LinkedIn job search profile tips would be incomplete without advising you to spend a few minutes each day reading news stories, posts and articles from inside and outside your network.  Add thoughtful comments to existing posts and create your own posts and articles or repurpose your previous work as a sample of your experience.  Just be sure that your work samples are appropriate for sharing and don’t contain confidential information or content that may be sensitive to a previous employer.

Professional Photo

Think of your profile as on online sales brochure.  Include an up-to-date, professional profile.  Your photo doesn’t have to be… and probably shouldn’t be a “glamour shots” type photo.  Keep in mind the image you want to convey to potential employers.  The photo you use for LinkedIn should be a different photo than what you use on Facebook and definitely don’t use the photo from your online dating profile!

Use these LinkedIn job search profile tips to start building your online presence right away.  Your profile is a powerful part of your job search strategy that you will add to and polish over time.

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How To Make A Resume

How To Make A Resume

How To Make A Resume

A young woman asked me to review her husband’s resume and requested that I consider him as a candidate for any job opening I might have of hear about.  I was surprised to receive a six-page resume and stopped reading after the first page.  He did not know how to write a resume.

Accepted resume tactics change over time and some remain.  When asked about How To Make A Resume, the best resume advice I offer is be clear, concise and keep it to two pages max!

Most employers will lose interest after the first page, so grab their attention quickly.  Here are 14 tips on how to write a resume that catch an employer’s attention and position you for an interview.

14 Resume Tips

  1. Always be truthful – This should be a given
  2. Have someone or even a few people proof-read your resume
  3. Use hyperlinks and include your email address and LinkedIn accounts
  4. Keep your resume to 2 pages maximum. If you are a recent graduate with limited job experience, stick with a single page
  5. The Objective Statement is optional, but does tell an employer what you want to do. You can also summarize your experience with a Summary Statement.  Either way, be clear and concise.  The purpose is state who you are, what you do and the value you provide.
  6. Use bold text to highlight the areas of your resume that you wish to stand out
  7. Include keywords – Employers today scrub resumes by scanning them into OCR engines (Optical Character Recognition) that flag resumes which include keywords related to the job and the skills for which they are searching. Your resume needs to include as many keywords from the job description possible.
  8. It is not a history report – Think about how to make a resume that will stand out. Your resume should be more than a history report stating what you did for your previous employers.  Instead, write about your success and how your skills provided value.  You don’t need to include a separate section of your resume for “Skills”.  Instead, write about the skills you used in your achievements.
  9. Quantify your results whenever possible
  10. Tell the story with data – How did you make or save a company money. If you created efficiency and saved time, translate the results into a monetary figure.
  11. Use the space on the page well. Include action words and bullet points to outline your past success.  Use words that enable you to explain your career highlights in a rich, but concise manner.
  12. List your previous roles and employers in reverse chronological order. Most hiring managers will want to understand your work history, so make it easy for them.
  13. Create a section for “Volunteer Experience”. A 2016 Deloitte Impact Survey found that including volunteer experience on your resume may make a candidate “significantly more attractive to employers”.
  14. Consider making space for “Points of Interest” you could include volunteer service here, but you could also include other things that make you unique like service on boards of directors, youth coaching, etc.  If you were an accomplished college athlete, you may want to include it here.  If you were a scholarship collegiate athlete regardless of your achievements, including that experience in your resume can reveal your work ethic to employers.
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