Totally Doable Job Tip of the Week: Organize Yo’Self!

Seriously, it’s time to just do it. And I’m going to make it easy for you to do this in a very short amount of time by sharing my favorite productivity apps. (YES!)

Many of these came in pretty handy when I was in the throes of my hybrid career life. As I grew my practice, I supplemented my income with work as an events consultant. So although I’m pretty productive, switching between the two on an almost-daily basis for a couple of years was enough to make my head spin!

So, whether you’re job hunting, which is a part-time job in and of itself, or you’re just trying to keep your career on track, take a gander at my favorite productivity apps:

  1. Toggl.com. This app is also available on a desktop or laptop and allows you to set up various categories of work and track your time. If you do it for a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to see where inefficiencies lie and where you might not be getting bang for buck. Example? For me, I spend a lot of time on admin and marketing, so it’s time to hire someone! For you, you might realize you’re spending way too much time researching companies and not enough time actually applying- so you may be able to see where your job search strategy may be falling down.
  2.  Mailbox. Available on IOS and Android, this app will take your inbox down to zero. Seriously. For someone who gets on average 200+ emails a day, this is key for me. You can “snooze” emails for crying out loud! And then ask them to come back to the top of your inbox at specific times that you set! No more scrolling through dozens of emails and trying to keep track of what you responded to!
  3. Timeful. This app is a little A.I. freaky. It learns your habits and makes suggestions for better ways to do things based on YOUR habits (ie the time of day when you’re most productive). It’s a mish mash of a calendar app and to-do list, seamlessly melded together.
  4. Humin. Going to a bunch of networking events soon? Humin allows you to be in the moment and enjoy the experience of meeting someone without having to remember all the details. You can then search for them later through phrases like, “met last week” or “works in compliance”
  5. Evernote. This one’s been around for awhile, but I used to use it ALL the time in the day to day work for my work in event content production and management. There were so many disparate sources of information that Evernote let me record them and connect them. In this way, I was able to synthesize information rapidly and effectively. Could be great for researchers, journalists, content producers and anyone bringing together lots of data points- qualitative and quantitative. There are lots of apps out there- you can seriously go down a rabbit hole. What I’ve tried to do here is pick an example for different productivity needs- time management, mail management, contact management and content management.

What I urge you to do, if you’ve been feeling you need a little productivity boost these days, is to pinpoint which of these is most pertinent to you and download it! Don’t try all 5 even if you feel you need it- if you try all of them, you’ll likely stick with none of them.

Time to Complete: 30 minutes to 1 hour, or the amount of time to get a pedicure and manicure at the salon. Better yet- why don’t you check these out WHILE getting your spring pedicure?!?

How to Tell If You’re Really That Busy

I’ve noticed something recently, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point it out. And by no means am I the first to point out the basic tenet, but I want to take it one step further.

The Busyness Trap.

So many of us are running around saying we don’t have time because we are so busy. The new normal is just to be busy all the time, or, as I would like to discuss in this post, to think we’re insanely busy, at all times.

Let me know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You lament how busy and hectic things are, but you have ample time to check social media and comment on your best friend’s cousin’s sister’s cat’s Facebook post
  • You can ‘never seem to get it all done’ but spend hours of work time planning your upcoming vacation, asking multiple opinions from your co-workers: safari in Africa or ziplining in Uruguay.
  • Your de facto response – like without even thinking about it- to a co-worker who asks how your day is going is, “You know…insane!”
  • The feeling you have day in, day out is one of frenzied whirling dervish-like motion, but you’re not quite sure what was accomplished at the end of it.

I don’t know about you, but I can recall times when I’ve done all of those and then some. Granted, there are legit times when I don’t know which way is up because there truly is a lot going on, and I’m sure that goes for many of us, but it’s simply not possible to be that busy all the time- we’d crash and burn- unless you’re my dad, of course, who is kind of like a robot that doesn’t need sleep.

This post is not meant to add to the weird frenzied conversation out there that essentially continues to up the ante on busyness, further stressing peeps out. Nor I am trying to Scarlet Letter people as Liars who portend to be busy but really are gleefully and secretly on Anthropologie.com all day ordering aprons and $278 sweaters. At all.

Instead, it is my firm belief that those of us (annnnd it’s a lot of us- preach) who think we’re super busy have actually tricked ourselves into ‘knowing’ how busy we are and in our heart of hearts actually think we’re really that harried all the time. Our culture of busyness has lured us into a) the idea that being insanely busy is a good thing and then b) that we who are busy hold a higher status so c) we have created false busyness to fit the mold. And, no judgment here. I’m bringing this up so that you have some frameworks by which to look within and actually determine how you’re spending your day and week, so that you can make small adjustments to more career happiness.

What’s the cost of false busyness?

-Lost productivity. You’re not actually getting as much done as you think. Instead, take small, sanctioned, planned breaks to do whatever you want- surf the net, go for a walk, jam out to some tunes or meditate. When Serial was out last fall, I would power walk around the neighborhood and listen to 15 minutes of an episode at a time. Figure out what kind of break works for you.

Stress. How much of your stress and anxiety is created by…you? False busyness and the true belief that we’re actually doing our biznass lulls us into a false sense of things flowing and then BAM! You’re so behind, you don’t even know what happened and the last place you look for answers is how you’re adding to the equation. Instead, try small interim deadlines for each project on your plate each day and aim to get to that small goal. Make sure the interim goal is specific, measurable, achievable and results-oriented. In other words, don’t set yourself up for failure.

Stagnation. Ever feel like you’re ‘doing so much, but nothing is happening’? To be sure, maybe there are other forces at work that contribute to a lack of movement- like office politics or a change in leadership. But if you can’t point to an external source that can be explained and worked around or worked with, look within. Are projects not moving forward because you’re actually doing less than you think?

Dissatisfaction: How much of your current dissatisfaction with your job is because of forces that are actually within your control? I mean, maybe you have no interest in doing what you’re doing, but if it’s something for which you still hold a bit of affinity, take a deeper look.  Is your false sense of busyness actually contributing to your lack of happiness? Getting clarity on that will help inform you whether you need to consider a career move.

So, in looking at the above list of the costs of false busyness, what do you think? If you could tweak some of your behaviors and inclinations and consciousness around this and impact even one of these costs, how would you feel? What would be different about your career? Would it be the difference between career satisfaction and wishing 40+ hours away of your life every week? Comments, as always, are welcome below!

 

Let me know if any of this resonates with you at all—either in the comments below or email me at jill@jillozovek.com!

How to Prep Now To Hit The Ground Running In January: Job Search Edition

I’ve heard a lot of people say that December is a ‘wasted month’, ‘no one looks at a resume in December,’ and ‘might as well wait til January.’

Hold your horses for a second there, sparky. I urge you instead to consider the following:

  1. Da Competition: How many times have you heard friends or co-workers talk about how busy they are preparing for the holidays- shopping, buying, parties, Hanukkah dinners, crossing the days off in their Advent calendar, etc? Well, guess what that means all those people are NOT doing? Looking for jobs! Lay the ground work now, in these last two work weeks of the year, to prep applications, find the correct contact person, if you don’t know who they are already and send ‘er in! The Daily Muse published an article the other day on 10 companies ‘hiring like crazy’ in December! Check it out here.

 

 

  1. The Last Week of the Year: Many, many people take it easy the week between Christmas and New Years, including yours truly. This doesn’t mean people are necessarily doing nothing work-related, but year end deadlines are done-zo and final numbers may be in, so they may be looking toward more long-term projects, like finding the right hire for that strategic marketing position, for example. Getting an application in for a position you covet during the Dec 15 week allows hiring managers to see it come in before the holidays and maybe put it on their to do list while they recharge. Then, you can follow up the first week of January regarding next steps!
  2. Holiday Networking! Tons of networking groups have a holiday mixer or party and it’s a great way to meet new people while spreading the holiday cheer. It doesn’t even have to be networking groups necessarily- it could be friend’s holiday parties or extended family gatherings. Women’s groups with holiday parties of include:
    1. Ellevate Network: https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/events
    2. Levo League (check your local chapter): http://www.levo.com/locallevo
    3. Lean In NYC (Email me at jill@jillozovek.com for information on my December 16 event!)
    4. In Good Company: http://ingoodcompany.com/classes/monday-night-networking-dec15/

 4.  Resume and Job Search Prep: Even if you don’t see the job of your dreams posted in December, don’t fret- it’s not a wasted month. Take the time to update your resume with your most recent position and generally make it so it’s ready to send out in January. There is not end to great advice on tweaking your resume out there, but for my #1 tip I’d say to make sure your resume doesn’t just list out your job duties at each post; instead change duties into accomplishments. (Think “Increased sales by 10% in fiscal year 2014 which added $X to the bottom line” as opposed to “business development”).

 

The Forbes Column!!

Yesterday was an exciting day here at HQ. I can still hardly believe it! The article I wrote on this blog on how to take control of your to-do list before it runs you was picked up by Forbes!!!!!!!

You can check it out here.

 

 

The Surefire Way to Get Your Day Back on Track after Something Derails You

Frustration and Annoyance: it’s a tale as old as time. As long as people with varying roles, attitude and personalities have been interacting with each other, there have been misunderstandings, buttons pushed, et al. Maybe something that happened in a meeting jarred you out of productivity mode. Maybe your mom called mid morning and ‘got on your last nerve’ with something and now you’re seeing red. Maybe you felt a co-worker ‘wasn’t hearing you’ when he or she was dismissing your ideas. The bottom line is that you can’t concentrate, you’re lacking energy and don’t know what to do about it.

I recently had to make a choice about how I wanted the rest of my day to go down regarding a situation that fits the above bill. Earlier in the morning, I was faced with a situation that really irritated me. I definitely let it affect part of my day, and it reminded me of my time in my past life when pretty much everything irritated me and I was living a life that was not for me.  After some time being unproductive, rather than continue to be annoyed at myself for being annoyed (which was…annoying), I came up with the some of the below tactics to get me back on track, so that I could leave my workday feeling that I had contributed to something and that I felt fulfilled.

  1. Don’t judge your emotions. Sitting there being annoyed at yourself for being annoyed at a situation does no one any good. Instead, it adds an additional layer of emotion on top of the original emotion. As they say in every meditation class ever, try not to judge your emotions. Instead, acknowledge them as ‘emotions that exist’ and things that are neither good nor bad. I swear, having a meditation app like Calm.com on my phone has helped for situations that may come up. We may live in an immediate NOW culture, so you may think you need to get back to being productive NOW, but take a 5 minute pause and re-calibrate yourself.
  2. It’s not about what someone ‘did’. Instead it’s what the incident says about you. Let me explain. We tend to view things as what someone ‘did’ to us or what ‘happened’ to us. But really, it’s all about how we interpreted it. To put it in simplistic terms, someone who ‘interrupted us’ at a meeting may initially get the “I can’t believe he did that. How dare he interrupt me while I’m explaining something important?” treatment. However, it could be that what’s really going on in this example that you value being able to get your thoughts out in your own time and manner, and this person challenged that value when he interrupted you.” Next time your patience is tested, ask yourself what your reaction says about you and what you value. It may help take the pressure off the other person and make it more into a learning experience.
  3. Ask yourself a pivotal question: If some of the suggestions in numbers one and two seem a little ‘woo-woo’ to you, I understand. They work, but it took me awhile to get used to that way of thinking. If that’s not your MO, how about this more tactical approach? Ask yourself how you’ll feel hours later, when you’re falling asleep or later in the week when you’re taking stock of the week, if you continue  riding this derailing train. How will you feel about what you’ve accomplished and how your mind feels? Alternatively, can you conjure up a time you’ve felt this way before? When I was back in my ‘getting through the week’ days, I used this tactic to turn myself around. It wasn’t a total mind shift, but it helped.
  4. Come up with new interpretations. What might have been other reasons why your colleague interrupted you, from our example earlier? Maybe you think it’s to ‘one-up’ you, but other reasons could include a) excitement for his own idea that he just blurted it out or b) he wasn’t listening so wasn’t even aware you were on a roll or c) he was thinking about the burrito he was going to have for lunch and just wanted the get the meeting over with. I worked with someone many years ago who seemed very disconnected and disengaged whenever we spoke. I thought she sounded bored. I later learned she had seizures at a very young age and it forever impacted her ability to formulate thoughts as quickly as many of us do. That was a big mind shift for me and pushed me to incorporate this tactic whenever I was in this zone of ‘annoyed’.
  5. Shut it dowwnnnn. We live in a seemingly NOW and IMMEDIATE world where everything is urgent, but seriously, most things rarely are. Close as many windows as possible, leave your mobile in your bag and check it at lunch, and overall, limit those things that are distracting to you. One big trick that tends to work for me is to turn off the Outlook bubble that enables new emails to pop up in a bubble at the bottom of my screen. That way, I’m doing work and not able to see things that might potentially derail me until I’m in a good stopping place (and thus feeling productive) to check emails.

The point here is to do what works for you. These are tricks I employ and are often ones that clients have used. What other tips and tricks are out there? Please share your favorites for the group below!