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Whether you are looking to find a new position or you are one of the millions of American workers still unemployed, a lull in your career can be a source of unhappiness.

That is why having a plan and a method to keep your business professional and your focus on advancing in your career is vital to keeping your sanity and time, and much more.

Why is productivity important?

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Before you start working, you should have your tasks written down in an organized and simple fashion.

While you have the details down, you may also want to revise and edit your notes so they are more comprehensive.

Using the proper scheduling system will also aid you in your next job search. Don’t just wait until you are unemployed to fill out job applications; make the effort to search every job-finding resource you have.

Here is a simple system for your notes that will keep you organized and allow you to both plans your schedule and prioritize your work.

1. Day job notes

First, set up a space to write down any assignments for your day job. This may include paperwork, emails, phone calls, timesheets, and other such forms.

Make a separate space from your planner or personal journal so that you can give your working hours and boss’ hours some kind of separation.

There is a lot to remember when you are a full-time employee. Everything is important, and you can’t afford to lose any time.

2. Manage email and phone contacts

Next, you need to set up an email to manage your day job contacts.

You can manage your business email account using services like Gmail, Slack, or Google.

You should also sign up for business phone numbers and do some research to find the number that works best for you.

3. Structure your workdays

My current desk setup as of 2016. I am a wedding and portrait photographer and have always believed the space you do work in has a big impact on the quality and kind of work you complete. I have been refining my workspace since I was in high school and I am really happy where it is now!

Once you have taken care of your day job notes, the most important part is to set up your workday.

Make a list of your tasks for each day and schedule your days to accomplish them. Be sure to follow a schedule you can stick to.

Sticking to a schedule may not be something you are used to, but it will help to make the most of your time.

If you can’t figure out the best day for you to work, set aside a block of time for working on your assignments.

However, if you can consistently finish work promptly, schedule a few days off each week.

4. Prioritize your work

You can divide your day into logical blocks of work.

This will make it easier to stay focused and give you a sense of organization.

Start each day with something easy to accomplish, like answering email.

You may have to make a few adjustments as you go, but these steps will help to keep you on track.

5. Keep track of your time

Even after you are done with your work, there may be things to be done after hours. You should write down how much time you spent on each project.

This may seem trivial, but if you can track it, you will have more of an idea of how much time you are wasting and how you can balance out your time and efficiency.

If you don’t know how much you are wasting time, you can’t know how to improve. Writing down this information will also help you in future job searches.

How to stay focused

You will be far more productive if you can stay on track. If you get sidetracked or distracted, you could lose hours of work in the process.

The same goes for a lack of focus. Having to focus on multiple tasks all at once can be difficult, but it is essential if you want to succeed at a work.

However, in the case of being distracted or sidetracked, it’s always a good idea to limit distractions and dedicate time to each project.

Sometimes you just can’t complete a task if you haven’t dedicated the time.

Stay on schedule

woman and man sitting in front of monitor

Here’s the thing: You can’t be everywhere at once. You can’t be available to respond to all the emails you receive.

You will have to assign priorities to the emails that you receive. Some will be urgent, and others may not even be important.

Instead of responding to every email, assign them to certain people, or days. Schedule times to respond to certain messages.

Being organized is the best way to stay focused and on track.

A solid back up plan

In the event, you lose track of time or you get distracted, you should have a backup plan.

A backup plan should include a network of trusted friends or contacts. These people will be there to help you out if you do become distracted or lose track of time.

If you need someone to cover for you in a pinch, then have them contact them.

Find a way to distract yourself

In the event you become distracted, try to distract yourself with a hobby or new hobby.

Some people can lose track of time when they are lost in their own little world. If you feel this could be a problem for you, then take your phone to a place where you will not be distracted.

Think about setting up a quiet spot near your office or next to your desk where you can focus without the fear of thinking of work.



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