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20 Ways To Use Your Time If You’re Waiting For Your Next Job

20 Ways To Use Your Time If You’re Waiting For Your Next Job

I know it can be tough to live without a job. I recently moved to a new city and went through the dreaded “job search slash figuring out what to do with my free time slash not driving myself crazy not working or not attending school.”

While it may be tempting to wallow in self-pity and frustration (let’s face it, job hunting is not easy for anyone), there are some constructive things you can do with your time in between jobs. Getting busy will make the time pass more quickly, plus you might learn a few things about yourself in the process. Here’s our list of 20 ways to use your time if you’re waiting for your next job:

1. Volunteer.

Not only will you feel more productive and all around good for giving something to others, you never know what kinds of opportunities could come out of a volunteer experience. The organization you are working for might have a position open up, or the contacts you meet might be able to point you in the right direction.

2. Start a blog.

Chances are you have something to say, so why not share your thoughts with the world via the internet? I started a blog over three years ago and it was immensely helpful for getting my feelings out while I was unemployed. I was also comforted by the readers’ kind words on days when I was feeling lonely in a new city.

3. Make a bucket list.

Are you approaching any major birthdays? If so, you can always make a list of things you want to do before you are ‘X’ age. Planning on moving soon? List out things you want to do before you move to your new city or state! I am only planning on being in my new city a couple of years, so I am working on a list of things to do while I live here. Once you have your list, share it with family and friends and start checking items off!

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4. Begin a new exercise program.

Get some endorphins going to fight depression and boost energy in your time of unemployment.

5. Sign up for a race.

Nothing gets me motivated (or fills up more time in my life) than training for a race. This will help give you purpose and boost your confidence once you cross that finish line.

6. Spend time with family and friends.

It is easy to get too busy and forget to spend time with the ones you love. Take this opportunity to reconnect with people and build up relationships.

7. Start couponing.

This is something I have always wanted to try but could not imagine taking the time sitting out with papers and scissors … but when you are low on money and high on time, this is something you might want to consider.

8. Cook from scratch.

Something that will save you money, but takes a bit more time, is cooking from scratch. Google some fun recipes and learn something new in the kitchen!

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9. Get outdoors.

Exercise, fresh air and vitamin D all help fight the depression that may be looming over your head in your state of unemployment.

10. Read a book.

Perhaps you have a book or two that you have been meaning to read but never had the time. Now you do!

11. Take a class.

Most classes are held during the day, a time when most people are typically at work. Since you do not have to worry about that, find a class that will inspire you.

12. Travel.

If you have some savings, consider traveling during your time of unemployment. Seeing new things, meeting new people and overall widening your horizons will benefit you no matter what stage of life you are in.

13. Make a list of your strengths and passions.

Maybe you are not quite sure what your next employment venture should be. Making a list can help you focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Somewhere in those lists you should be able to find an occupation that would suit you.

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14. Set up practice interviews.

This can help you gain confidence in the interviews for jobs you actually want.

15. Learn to play an instrument.

There are many music stores that offer lessons and even used instruments that you can buy for a good price.

16. Play a video game.

They are actually a whole lot more beneficial than you think!

17. Build something.

My boyfriend said this is the first thing he would do if he were unemployed and I believe him. It does not have to be a large structure — maybe a bookcase you have been meaning to buy can instead be built in your free time.

18. Pick up a hobby.

Whether it be learning to shoot pool or how to crochet, make sure to keep your mind engaged during this period of unemployment.

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19. Relax.

Think of this time off in a positive light. You now have time to kick back and relax!

20. Lastly, do not give up your job search.

Set a goal of the number of jobs and/or interviews you want to do each week and try to stick to it. It is great and refreshing to take some time off from the working world; however, you should also remember the likely need of a job in your near future!

Try to be positive and productive in your time of unemployment. Use this period in your life to learn new things, think about your life and to build relationships. Something good will come of this time in between jobs!

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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