4 Productivity Hacks for Job-Hunters

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We’re in the dog days of August and there’s so much you should be doing to find a new work opportunity in the GTA or Canada– 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 in Toronto, the GTA or elsewhere in Canada. 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 the Bagg Group, we lead in successful placements of high achievers. It’s what our four divisions Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg Managed Resources, and Turn Key Staffing —all members of GardaWorld Staffing –do best.

We help strong candidates land full-time, contract and temporary placements.

We understand high-achievers – and 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 these

  • The work feels a bit …  b-o-r-i-n-g.

Tedious tasks come with just about every job.  And we all know the the drill.  We start off with great intentions, but five minutes into our work and we can’t resist checking email, looking at the news, reading blogs, editing pictures, and looking at Instagram, where everyone appears to be having a better and more successful time.  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 – until the timer went off – 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.

  • The work is … well, it’s 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 up an outline.  Send to someone able to provide helpful input and tell you whether you’re on the right tract.

  • It feels like risky business.

You’re worried, you feel you can’t afford to mess up this work. 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 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.

  • It’s work you just really don’t feel like doing.

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.

Now, after the hard talk –the fun stuff.  

All of us at The Bagg Group believe in the value of celebrating wins and finding enjoyment in the everyday.

At The Bagg Group, we know happiness counts, so …

 

Eat dark chocolate for your work: A study looked at the effects of eating 60% cacao chocolate (dark chocolate) on the brain waves of 122 participants. And great news, it was found chocolate boosted alertness and attention for a period.  Bring on the chocolate bar.

Add colour to your environment:  Research shows rooms with bright colours, notably yellow and red, energize  reading comprehension — so you can get through all report faster.

Take heart, even the most successful procrastinate:   If you’re using the timer method, check out this EllenProcrastination Help with Ellen DeGeneres for your minutes off. It’ll make you laugh. And you can’t beat laughter for recharging your battery.

Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach who has helped hundreds successfully put their best foot forward at interviews and in the workplace. She is also writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group.

 

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