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Managing Yourself and Your Career Development

Note: This is the sixth of six blog posts detailing the developmental needs that will be addressed in the Resonare Boot Camp starting on July 16 and going through August 20, 2020.

Throughout the Career Boot Camp, I’ve been working with the participants on getting them to understand more what it is that they want, how to identify the places that would be good for them, how to formulate their stories, and then get those stories out to the professionals who need to know about them. This last session is of a very different sort, in that it’s about project management and keeping the momentum going.

Much like Steven Covey’s concept of “sharpening the saw“, personal productivity and having control of your information is key to executing a good job search. I have very much taken guidance from David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy, and put it into a job search context (in fact, I did a presentation on this for the GTD Virtual Study Group in 2010). Below are some concepts that I have found useful for job searchers that goes beyond what many career professionals tend to contribute:

  • Write It Down: David Allen has said “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” When we try to keep everything in our heads, we take up too much energy keeping track of things. Everyone will have a different system (i.e. note book, sticky notes, spreadsheets, project management software, etc.), but you need to have a trusted system to be able to access information when you need it. Do you know when you applied for that job, or sent that email to a friend of a friend? If you can’t find it, it’s going to drive your crazy.
  • Process Your Thoughts First: We as humans don’t multitask well, despite what many think. We really are more productive when we take time to plan out the things that we do, and then separately do them. Think about how much more productive you are when you have a list of all the things you have to do on a Saturday morning than if you have to make decisions about what to do. Conversely, how often have you planned to do something, and then had to stop and figure something out, and then never got it done? Take your time to figure out what to do, and the take a break and go into action mode.
  • What’s the Next Action?: A big distinction that David Allen makes is between actions and projects. An action is a single task (i.e. empty dishwasher) where a projects is anything with more than one task (i.e. getting the name of your friend’s auto mechanic, calling them up to make an appointment, and then bringing the car in for service). The problem that most people have is that the think of a project (i.e. get a job) as a task and not an action, and then get overwhelmed with the totality of it. If you just think about doing one task at a time, you are more likely to complete projects more quickly instead of mull over them. This is also the key to the power of Quadrant 4 in the Intentional Action Matrix.
  • Review Your Progress: Too often, I see people make the same mistake over and over again, as they never look to see what they’ve done and how to improve it. Hopefully we all learn a bit as we go through life, and this is especially true of people in the job search process. You need to keep testing your assumptions and taking in new information and getting updated feedback on your presentation.

Come join me in the Career Boot Camp starting July 16, 2020 and our sixth session on Thursday, August 20 will be just this. Other posts in this series are: Clarifying Your Needs5 Criteria for Identifying Target OrganizationsHow to Develop a StoryIdentifying Your Personal Brand, and Sharing Your Stories with a Larger Audience. There’s a limit to 25 participants, so sign up now!

#action #gtd #jobsearch #multitasking #distractions #task #project #selfmanagement

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