January 9, 2020

4 productivity hacks for job-seekers.

4-minute read

We’re in the dog days of August here in Canada and there’s so much you should be doing to find a new work opportunity, but you just can’t seem to get to it.

Maybe you need to update your resume or cover letter. Or write a proposal for a contract. Or investigate full-time or temporary placements. Or just send out emails to former colleagues and new contacts.

You know what needs to be done when looking for work. But for some reason, you’re just not getting around to it.

At TalentWorld, we are the leaders in Canada for successful placements of high achievers. It’s what we do best. We help strong candidates land full-time, contract and temporary placements.

Procrastination happens

We understand high-achievers. We know that procrastinating doesn’t mean you’re not one of them. It just means you need to stop, take stock, and figure out how to be productive when you really would rather go canoeing.

4 top reasons job-hunters stall and hacks to overcome them

Reason No. 1: What needs to get done feels a bit, well, boring.

Tedious tasks come with just about every job.  And we all know the drill. We start off with great intentions, but five minutes into our efforts and we can’t resist checking email, looking at the news, reading blogs, editing pictures, and looking at Instagram. Then when we try to get back to work, we’re feeling defeated about our lack of progress.

Productivity hack:  Set a do-don’t do-repeat cycle.

Set a timer. Work for 20 minutes. Set the timer again for 10 minutes. During this time, read a blog or emails until the buzzer goes off. Repeat the cycle.

The secret is to actually set an alarm. Studies confirm this will give you a critical sense of working to some kind of deadline. It will keep you going when you would really rather be doing anything else.

Editor-in-chief of Business Insider magazine,  Nicholas Carlson, says he wrote a 93,000-word book in six weeks by setting his timer for an hour at a time. “During that hour I allowed myself to do one of two things: write or stare. That meant no looking at my phone, checking email, reading news, or anything else.” When the timer went off, Carlson said he’d go for a 15-minute walk around the block. Then he set the timer again, and return back to writing... or staring. It proved a very successful formula.


Reason No. 2: The task is… complicated.

You’re not sure of what is expected, what you’re meant to be doing, how to approach the project. Little is more de-motivating than uncertainty.

Productivity hack:  Send out a trial balloon.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to spend more time upfront to save considerable time, and frustration, and procrastination down the line.

If you aren’t sure of an approach, go with your best guess and write a plan.  Send to someone able to provide helpful input and tell you whether you’re on the right track.


Reason No. 3: It seems risky.

You’re worried. You think you can't afford to miss this opportunity. And the anxiety and doubt are paralyzing.

Productivity hack: Ask yourself, what if you don’t do it? Is that so much better for you?

Usually, the cost of not doing something is a significant loss of some kind. You may lose hope and feel you’ll be stuck forever, or it may be a loss of reputation or even loss of self-esteem.

Standing still, or inaction, always comes with its own price and it’s usually too big to pay.


Reason No. 4: You just don’t feel like it.

In his book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, author Oliver Burkeman shows that when we tell ourselves things like “I just can’t get myself to exercise,” what we really mean is that we can’t get ourselves to feel like exercising, etc.

Burkeman insists it’s really not necessary to feel like doing something to do it.

Productivity hack: Don’t get into a debate with yourself

Don’t ask yourself the question, “Do I feel like this?”  Don’t say yourself, “Argh, I hate this, I don’t want to do it.” Do not engage in those conversations with yourself, they’re nothing but roadblocks to accomplishment.

Instead, even though you don’t feel like it, tell yourself, “Ok, I’m now going to do this for (xx) time.”

It’s just that simple.

Also, don't forget to browse our job postings to see where your talent can take you!

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