In any pursuit of a new role it’s a good idea to be organised. Creating a job search to-do list is a great place to start, but there can be a right and wrong way to go about it.
Empower don’t demoralise
The problem with a to-do list is that in some cases it can create more harm than good. If you don’t go about it the right way a to do list that isn’t structured and achievable can ultimately demoralise rather than empower.
If you simply list EVERYTHING you have to do, it soon becomes overwhelming. Particularly if you’re compiling a job search to-do list, you want to ensure that it gives you the impetus for a successful search.
A few simple rules of thumb may be just what you need to compile an energising, structured, highly effective job search to-do list.
- Write it the night before – By taking a few moments to write a to-do list the night before it gives you a head start in the morning. Morning can be quite a high energy time for many people so by having your goals for the day already identified you can jump straight in to the day and make use of productive time.
- Qualify the contents – The contents of your job search to-do list should fit two criteria. If it’s on the list it should be something important that needs to be done and something that needs to done within the timeframe you’re working to on the list. Anything that doesn’t fit into the timeframe or that can be left over to another time or person shouldn’t feature on the list. If you include things that are not essential or time critical it can crowd out the more necessary items affecting your focus. If you find that by being selective you whizz through the critical things then you can make a start on the next batch of items.
- Assign time estimates – Try and include an assessment of how long it’s going to take to do each item. This will help you be realistic about what you can physically fit into your day. You need to make an accurate appraisal of the time each task will take, as you want to do each piece of work justice and not turn the exercise into a race against the clock.
- Divide it into sections – You might want to order your list by the priority of the items on it or by the length of time they are likely to take. Another method would to separate them into two columns. One column should show a chronological list of things to be done, the other highlighting what you want to achieve within those tasks. Underneath the chronological list you can add tasks that need to be completed that day but aren’t for a particular time. Do this in order of priority. This gives a complete structure to your day and if you do get a few minutes to spare, you can check the list and assess what things you can tackle to make the best use of your time.
- Re-evaluate items you’ve put off – maybe you have an item that keeps being bumped from one day’s list to another without ever getting done. If this keeps happening you need to find out why. Is it not an urgent task? Should it be on your list at all?
In truth these are tips that could be useful to any to-do list not just specifically a job search to-do list. Either way, the more structured and focused you can be in your job search the more chance you give yourself of achieving a result.