Coffee Break: How to Stay Motivated
No one said looking for a job is easy. When the Monday blahs or mid-February winter blues strike how do you keep up your motivation and move forward? Here are some thoughts…
First of all, be kind to yourself and remember that looking for a job, especially later in life, takes time. You are going to have some bad days where you feel slightly defeated by it all. That’s natural. So take a deep breath, take several and remember this feeling will pass.
- Eat the frog.
Mark Twain said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to eat it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” I return to this quote again and again especially on low-motivation days when I think to myself – how do I get a quick win and that usually means doing the thing I have been putting off and doing it early in the day. Then I can feel smug for the rest of the day!
- Break it down.
And if eating the frog is just not your thing then break down your To-Do List into small, actionable steps that feel manageable. Check them off one at a time and celebrate your small wins. It is as easy as putting one step in front of the other and before you know it you’re making progress and moving forward.
- Change it up.
The tediousness of looking for a job can be a killer so try and mix up your routine to add interest and variety. Sometimes a change in scenery is enough. For example, if you always work at your kitchen table take a page out of 50:50 Interviewee Chris Ward’s book “Out of Office” and try working from a coffee shop where the buzz of the coffee house and random conversations with strangers might just give you the inspiration you need.
- Get creative in your search to find those hidden jobs.
If you have spent the week completing online applications then take a break and try something different. Make a list of companies that you would love to work for and reach out to their hiring managers to see if you can start a conversation. Use your networks to find other ins. The challenge is to search smarter not harder.
- Replace the negative feedback loop with positive thoughts.
When you are feeling like a failure, take time to stop and think about all that you have achieved already and what makes you special. Maybe it means writing a list of all your good points (and don’t forget about your superpowers) and keep it handy in times of need. Or try calling your best friend or an old boss who adored you to remind you why you are so great. Listen to an inspirational Ted Talk or a podcast to boost your spirits. Do whatever you need to change the channel on those negative thoughts!
- Take the day off when you need to recharge your batteries.
Finally, if none of these suggestions are working then give yourself permission to take a day off. Go to the gym, visit an art gallery, meet up with old friends and definitely get outside. And then tomorrow start back with a clear head and a more positive attitude. It all comes back to being kind to yourself and understanding what you need to move forward.