Clutter, clutter everywhere!
If you struggle with organization and are conducting a job search, you know that clutter and disorganization are productivity killers. A cluttered workspace can increase stress and frustration which are already at all-time highs with most job hunters. Even worse, disorganization can cause you to miss out on opportunities and extend your job search even longer.
Sifting through the chaos could seem like an insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be this way!
If you see piles of papers, sticky notes, or junk in the workspace you have dedicated for your job search, you know it is time to make some changes to your organizational habits.
The key is to evaluate your situation and make small steps toward a more organized workspace and job search plan. Job search organization requires effort and some planning but it isn’t difficult to accomplish once you set your mind to it.
Create Your Clutter-Free Job Search “Headquarters”
You HAVE dedicated a space for your job search, haven’t you? If not, this should be your first step in your commitment to achieving job search organization. The ideal is a separate home office, but few of us have a spare room available for this. If you don’t have a home office already, choose a corner of your bedroom, half of your kitchen table dedicated to the purpose, or a quiet spot in your living room.
You should clear all clutter from this space, other than the equipment and materials you need for your search. This means putting away even extra pens, staplers, and note pads. Every morning make it a goal to put away (or toss) anything that is in this space but shouldn’t be there. Imagine how much more productive your day would be if you spent only 10 minutes each at the end of each day, clearing away all the distracting clutter.
Clean the areas around your workspace too. Vacuum the room, wash windows, and dust furniture. These simple steps will make the space feel more inviting and conducive to productivity and efficiency.
Display something in your workspace that motivates you. Looking for employment is a full-time job. Keep things around that inspire you to persevere. You might use objects that are meaningful in your faith tradition or any inspirational quote. Anything that makes you laugh may give you the boost you’ll often need.
Go Paperless & Digital
Paper is often the worse clutter and disorganization culprit. Paperwork can get out of hand fast. Spend some time sorting through your paperwork and create a filing system. Or better yet, consider going paper free by scanning everything that is important while tossing (or shredding) the rest. If you are reading a document on your computer, before you hit the “print” key, ask yourself if it is really necessary. Evernote is a great app to use for storing all your scanned documents as well as those you chose to read and save online rather than printing.
Make sure all your contacts are stored on your computer, ideally in a cloud-based system that you will be able to access on any device. Once you’ve done this, toss out any old business cards hanging around your desk space.
If going completely paper-free sounds radical, create a system for dealing with the paperwork, This could be as simple as having “in,” “out,” and “to-do” boxes. Getting the paperwork off the desk will change the whole look and feel of your space.
Deal With Digital Clutter
Cleaning your workspace doesn’t apply only to your physical workspace. Is anything cluttering up your computer’s hard drive? Go through your e-mail inbox and delete those you don’t need and file the rest.
Clean your computer desktop and eliminate everything that is distracting. For optimal job search organization and productivity, you will want to be able to focus, distraction-free, on job-search related tasks.
During the times that you have dedicated for your job search, close all apps and files on your computer that may distract you from your work.
Organizing Your Job Search Work Day
You’ve probably heard the saying, “treat job searching as a job of its own.” It is sage advice that will benefit even the job seeker who is otherwise organized and a master at keeping a clutter-free workspace.
Set a starting time. Punctuality counts even when you report to yourself. Determine a realistic time when you can be ready to get down to the business of your job search each morning.
Also, give yourself a quitting time. Don’t discount the importance of your leisure and family time. It’s just as important to establish an end to your workday. In the long run, maintaining productivity usually means avoiding excessive overtime.
Remember too, to leave room for breaks. Give yourself a chance to take a breather and socialize. Stay connected by arranging lots of lunch dates (lunch dates with people in your professional network will allow you to combine socializing with job searching). Pause during the day for meals, exercise and rest.
Finally, put your daily calendar in writing and keep a running list of job search tasks that must be done. Whether you choose to keep this calendar on your computer or in a more traditional planner is up to you. Just pick a system that works for you and stick with it.
Make it a daily habit to spend 15 minutes planning the upcoming day, either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Organize your tasks and meetings, and pick out the 3 most critical tasks that are the highest priority for the day.
Getting organized can give you an advantage in finding the job you want and help you feel more confident while you’re working to advance your career.
By incorporating these simple job search organization habits into your routine, you will quickly find yourself working more efficiently and productively and with less stress. Organizing can help you find a job faster. By staying organized, you’ll be able to stay on top of all your leads and keep yourself motivated.