November is a famously tough on energy. Until we adapt to the shorter days, we can feel like #November has thrown a wet blanket on our enthusiasm to search for new work opportunities in Canada, whether these are full-time, contract or temporary.
At The Bagg Group, we’ve been actively listening to job candidates for more than 46 years. We know all about the November factor. That’s why we put together this list of easy-to-apply tips from our expert recruiters on how to push through the low-energy days.
Manage your energy, not your time
Everyone has times throughout the day when their energy peaks and slumps. Chronicle your bursts and dips so you can work in sync with them.
Often, we set a daily schedule of tasks that is counter-productive. When it comes to time management, it’s standard to follow a lot of one-size-fits-all list of “should-s.” But it’s not always the best way to proceed. It’s often advised to set mornings aside to accomplish your toughest tasks. That’s a good plan for those who are at their best before noon. If that’s not you, go with your own flow, even if that means flipping your to-do list and completing the easy stuff first.
Follow your energy, you’ll be more productive and less stressed.
Avoid productivity shaming: If you’re not working as well as you’d like, don’t beat yourself up. The energy experts call that productivity shaming. Being angry with yourself only makes you feel more tired and down. Studies show people who forgive themselves for procrastinating and not being as productive as they wished, actually work better. So be nice to yourself, and take a break to change your mindset. Go for a walk, do a 10-minute deep breathing or meditation exercise, or spend 10 minutes doing something that makes you laugh, and feel good. Yes, it’s okay to watch funny dog videos for 10 minutes.
Know when to switch gears: According to research, if you spend 15 minutes trying to do something and you feel more and more tired and drained by the challenge, put it on hold for now. Do something else on your to-do list to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. This will help you when you go back to the tough task.
Own your day: Being interrupted happens, but some interruptions you can shut down. Take this situation. Many people want to take a break at around 3 p.m., and look to have a chat. If that happens to be the time you rev up, shut down the chit-chat and say to yes something more valuable — your concentration. The same principle applies to checking email. Do it only during dips in energy, not when you have some momentum going.
Disconnect to buy yourself time: It’s hard for everyone to turn off their phone, shut down email and social media programs for a designated time. But here’s an incentive. Studies show when people work on their laptops in a place where they can’t get Wifi and have their phones switched off, they accomplish writing tasks in one-third of the time they’d normally take.
Be creative in tackling difficult tasks
Energy is sparked by confidence and positivity. And by the way, those are important qualities to bring into an interview or a meeting with a contact.
It’s common for job-hunters in the GTA and elsewhere, as well as those vying for new positions at work, to feel an energy drain when slogging through tasks that don’t come easy to them. So how about taking a different, more stimulating, approach?
At The Bagg Group — Staffing Services by Garda — we’re known for innovative problem-solving. It’s why leading companies in Canada are our clients — they trust we’ll find a solution to any challenge that comes our way. Innovative problem-solving energizes our recruiters.
Looking for work opportunities but struggling to get your cover letters written? Try these problem-solving techniques.
We know that sometimes job-hunters miss an application deadline because they struggle to get a cover letter written. Maybe cover letters aren’t difficult for you, but we’ll use this as an example of what taking a different approach to a tough task can look like.
Talk out your cover letter before you write it. Ask yourself: “Why am I good for this job, what proof can I give you, what experience can I highlight?” Think out loud, and record yourself on your smartphone. Then play back the recording and type out your best lines. This gives you something to work with. Instead of looking at a blank screen and feeling you’d really rather be sleeping, you have something to edit. Editing is easier than starting a cover letter from scratch. (And don’t forget to reflect the language of the job posting.)
Walk away from your desk, sit on a comfy chair with a pad of paper. Write quickly, without over-thinking, all the ways you believe your skills and experience match what the job posting says the company is looking for. Next write why this job interests you. Again, it’s just a very rough draft, so let your thoughts flow easily without editing onto your pad of paper.
When you’re done, re-read your notes and underline or circle your best points. Then type these up and work with this draft to shape your cover letter, highlighting how you can meet the key needs listed in the job post.
If you’re still stuck, consider giving a friend your first draft and ask for their help in refining it. Make sure your friend knows the key responsibilities listed in the job posting. It can be quicker for a friend to put something together to help get you going. A friend isn’t as emotionally invested, so they’re more relaxed.
There’s energy in action
Geoff Bagg urges job-seekers to live by this motto: Doing something is better than doing nothing. This way of thinking is a game-changer.
If you are truly out of steam, do something different: Look for volunteer work, or check out listings for temporary or contract gigs instead of full-time work, or set an entirely different goal for your day — make it to find a networking event or to do something positive for your physical and/or mental health.
One thing you can do is check out our job board –Between Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg Managed Resources and TalentWorld (formerly named Turn Key Staffing Solutions), you may find just what you need, long or short-term, to get you fired up.
Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach and writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group