How To Stay Productive When You're Unemployed
Making the most of your free time and planning your next move
I just quit my dream job. Since I was 17 years old I'd dreamed of being a marketing manager for a fashion company. I gained a fashion marketing degree, worked countless unpaid internships and landed a job where I got to grow a new brand from the ground up. I worked my way up, was earning regular pay rises and eventually at the start of 2021, I got the role I had always wanted. It seemed like a dream come true...but I was miserable. Waking up on the weekend to passive aggressive emails, feeling like I was never doing enough despite working overtime everyday and to top it off, I didn't even believe in the business I was promoting on a daily basis.
So here I am, essentially starting again and to be honest, I've never felt better. Of course, with the current climate we're in, this doesn't seem like the best time to be throwing away job opportunities. I will admit I'm in a privileged position to be able to leave and still be comfortable, but I also think instability brings opportunity. For the first time in six years, I'm no longer chasing and actually have the time to plan my next move. If you've recently found yourself in a similar position where you're out of work, embrace this as a chance to make change happen. Here are my six ways to stay productive and make the most of being unemployed.
1. Create A Daily Routine
While I'm definitely not part of the 'wake up at 5am' gang, I do think a daily routine is necessary to keep you on track with your goals. Whether you're an early bird or night owl, create a structure for your day and do your best to stick to it. You'll feel a lot more in control of your life and less likely to feel guilty or lazy for not doing anything with your day.
2. Reflect On Your Previous Work Experience
Before you jump straight into applying for new jobs or looking for your next role, take some time to evaluate how you've felt in previous jobs. What parts of work did you enjoy? What filled you with dread every morning? For me, I realised I kept applying to the same type of company and getting the same awful employee treatment. Going forward, I am actively avoiding roles within those types of brands and setting my sights on new industries that better reflect my interests. Notice any patterns that have brought you to where you currently are and work out how to avoid going straight back into that cycle.
3. Dedicate Time Every Day Towards Your Next Move
Once you know the type of roles or companies you want to work for going forward, it's time to get serious. Whether it's 10 minutes or 10 hours, be sure to dedicate time each day to finding your next move. Check the job boards regularly to ensure you don't miss any new roles. Take some time to fine tune your CV. Write a cover letter that you can easily adapt and adjust to suit whatever company you are applying for.
4. Learn New Skills
With all the extra free time you now have, there's no better time to gain some new skills. Skillshare is an online learning community where you can explore thousands of classes on absolutely any topic from social media marketing to SEO for beginners. Not only is it way more productive than spending all day watching Netflix (although there's definitely time for that), it will also help to make you more employable. If you're lacking the work experience to get into a specific role, Skillshare can help bridge the gap so you know exactly what you're talking about when you land that interview. Click here to try Skillshare today and get a 14-day free trial plus 40% off your annual membership!
5. Work On Your Hobbies/Side Hustles
If you've been working towards making your hobbies a full-time job one day, take this as your sign to make it happen! There is no better time than now to dedicate your full attention to the that dream life you're craving. Use the time that you would have spent working to invest into creating content, researching your desired industry and networking with those that can help you get to where you need to be.
Finally, it is so rare in this day and age that we get this much time off. Take some time to breathe. Do things that make you happy just because you can. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty for doing non-productive things sometimes. Working hard or hardly working? I say do both!