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Task Lists and Calendars

imageA job search can, at times, become overwhelming with all the things that need to get done! That point had become very real to me the last couple of weeks as my schedule has become crazy with my business, in addition to outside and family obligations. Unfortunately things fall behind and fall through the cracks… like writing my weekly posts!

The same is true when you're searching for a job. Applications, customizing your resume, networking, informational meetings, job interviews, follow up thank you notes and so many other things seem like they all need to get done right now, and there's not enough hours in the day to do them. Opportunities can be lost if the appropriate things don't get done on time.

So how do you manage them? And how can you become more productive?

Everyone has to find what works best for them, however, for me… it's a matter of becoming more disciplined with my Task Lists and Calendars!

There are countless tools available online, on your desktop computer, for your wall, or on paper. Everyone has preferences as to what works best for them… however, my tools of choice have simply been Microsoft Outlook, and printed lists. 

One at a time! The most successful process for me to get the most done, is to focus on one task at a time until it's completed. As much as possible, I resist the urge to jump to something else… like following up on email, checking news online, or switching to another project. I get more tasks completed faster when I attack them one by one, rather than trying to do several simultaneously. Sometimes circumstances demand multi-tasking, but it typically slows things down, even while it feels more productive while I'm juggling several objectives.

Prioritize! To be most effective in doing one task at a time, it's important to determine which is the most important task. Which one will have the greatest impact? Which has the soonest deadline? Which have I made commitments for? Which can I knock off the quickest? Which will I be happiest to get done and off my list? Figuring out which ones to focus on first, second, and third makes me much more effective each day.

Set aside the time! In order to get each task accomplished, I have to have the time available to do it. I use my calendar to block out time to get various objectives done. Without intentionally setting the time aside, it's very easy for me to procrastinate and get distracted with other 'busyness'. Using my calendar proactively helps me focus and be more productive.

Evaluate, Execute, Repeat! As your day or week goes on, priorities and circumstances change. New opportunities and tasks arise, and others become less important in comparison. As each task is completed, take a moment to re-evaluate if your list is still in the best order of priority. Make adjustments as necessary and dive into the next task in the #1 spot. Sticking to an list under changing circumstances may result in missed opportunities, be sure to re-evaluate regularly… AFTER completing the task you're working on.

All the tasks that come at you during a job search can certainly become overwhelming. Having a plan and knocking them off one by one can give you confidence and reduce stress. Use your task lists, calendars, or what ever tools work best for you to take control of the challenge!


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