Organizing your time ...

One of the challenges for the job seeker is keeping their days organized.  Opinions vary on how one should have one's day scheduled (from those who encourage taking personal time during the day to those who are totally "nose to the grindstone"), but it really does help to have some sense of what you're actually doing with your time.

Once again, my experience/ background is not typical,  having worked from home 13 of the past 15 years, and I have habits in place that put me in my home office for substantial chunks of the day (although I have started to heed the "go get some work done in a coffee house" advice from time to time).  As my previous job died a drawn-out fading death, I also had a number of projects whose time-lines decayed at various rates.  One of MY main challenges when it became clear that I was, indeed, in a job search (and no longer part of a team keeping our previous company on life-support), was to make sure that I was spending enough time on the job search, as well as other essential functions such as sleep.  On this latter point, I'm one of those guys who will get dug into a project and keep at it deep into the night, so one of the triggers for my developing what I'm going to be sharing with your today was to make sure that I got closer to six hours of sleep than four!


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This file ... TimeSheet-100222-100228-TJS.doc ... is a Word document of a 24/7 time sheet along with a reporting grid.  Please download it and change the dates as needed.  I have been keeping these up for almost 9 months now, and it gives me a good sense of how things have been progressing.  Due to space, the "granularity" of these is only to the half-hour level, but for the purpose of monitoring how much time one is spending on what, they work like a charm.

I use annotations for activities, JS for "job search", GI for "general internet" (e-mail, boards, etc.), HH for "household" (reading the newspaper, playing with the kids, going to the movies, showering, eating, etc.), and various codes for projects (such as TJS for writing The Job Stalker) that I'm working on, along with "sleep" for, well, those intermittent times when I'm not awake, with arrows to show extent through the grid. 

At the end of the week (or at the end of several weeks, as is more often the case), I'll total up how many half-hour segments are attributed to each code, and put that data into the "raw time" field, divide this number by 168 (hours in the week) to come up with a "percentage of the week" figure, and then again divide the "raw time" by 7 to get a sense of what the average hourly attention each of the functions has been getting.  I try very hard to make sure that JS, or "job search" is averaging 6-8 hours a day and that "sleep" gets closer to 6 than it does to 4.  The other numbers tend to shift around quite a bit, as some weeks there's a lot of family activity (HH on the chart) and some other weeks I might be buried in re-writing somebody's web site (and thereby putting a lot of that particular code on the time sheet).  Anyway, the end result are numbers that let me know for sure how much time I've been dedicating to the job search, how much time I've been sleeping, and how much time I've put in on various "side projects".

Obviously, this is a bit obsessive-compulsive on my part, but if you're the sort of person who ends up spending increasing amounts of time in front of the TV (a HH activity) without "supervision" (as opposed to my trying to get 36 hours of work done a day), using this 24/7 time sheet might be able to provide the structure you need!

Filed under: Job Search

Tags: calendar, schedule, time sheet

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