How To Stay Productive And Sane In Between Jobs

In a world where hustle culture seeps into the shows we watch, the activities we engage in, and even the small talk we make with strangers, being in between jobs can feel like failing. After all, women supposedly have more professional opportunities than ever before, so why is it so hard to find the proper position for you (or, in some cases, any position)?

By Anna Livia Brady2 min read

Looking for work can take a mental toll on anyone. But by making the most of your time while looking for your next job, you’ll have the power to develop good habits, improve your skill set, and switch your mentality from “I hate being in between jobs” to “I’m so glad I had that time to grow and develop.” From someone who’s been there, here’s how to stay productive — and sane — in between jobs. 

Make a Routine (and Stick With It) 

One thing you may have missed during your 9-to-5 workdays was the freedom to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. But the grass is always greener. For those who are looking for work, the days at home can drag on, and hours of binge-watching TV can only make you feel more anxious than before. 

When it comes to your mental and physical well-being, never underestimate the power of routine. By waking up at a specific set time each day, eating meals at set times, and setting aside proper times for side hustles, job applications, interviews, and exercising, you’ll be able to go to bed feeling like you spent your time well. Plus, keeping a productive routine during the week makes those few spare moments of R&R so much more rewarding. 

2. Brush Up on Your Networking Skills 

While you should network is a bit of an obvious response to what should I do in between jobs, we can't understate the importance of making strategic professional connections. It's tempting to send connection requests to everyone who pops into your LinkedIn feed; but instead, tailor your professional circle to only include: 

  1. Those you know personally.

  2. Those who could potentially employ you.

  3. Employees at companies you’d love to learn more about. 

By limiting your professional circle to the list above, you'll save time and energy and be well on your way to finding a few great (potential) opportunities. Remember, people find people jobs. Being interpersonal and selective in your networking strategy now will help you plant the seeds for future success. 

People find people jobs. 

3. Jot Down Your Ideals 

While we don't condone being overly picky when choosing your next job, it never hurts to take a moment to write down what you want out of life (along with any career moves that could get you there). 

Maybe you grew up seeing your mother run her own company and want to emulate her ambition, or maybe you see a 9-to-5 as a tool for personal development and financial stability (but not necessarily ultimate fulfillment). Your wishes for your life are valid and worth pursuing wholeheartedly. Plus, striving for integrity at work and in life will make you stand out in interviews (and beyond). 

4. Learn a New Practical Skill (or Two) 

Education is always worthwhile. And thanks to the internet, you can learn almost anything you want without taking another penny in student loans. During this transitional period, take some time each day to learn employable hard skills (coding, SEO marketing, or bookkeeping) and soft skills (communication, critical thinking, or time management). 

Setting personal learning objectives for yourself will lend you the assurance that you're resourceful and productive, using every bit of spare time (within reason) to better yourself. 

Striving for integrity at work and in life will make you stand out. 

5. Drive to Family and Friends 

Finally, while you have the time, arrange as many get-togethers with family and close friends as possible. Not only will these people likely lift your spirits, but they also may offer valuable insights that could help you land your next job. 

During these hangouts, offer to meet your loved ones at places of their choice. Provided you have ample gas money, putting in the effort to go out of your way will get you in the zone for the daily commutes and time management skills required for your next job. Plus, getting out of the house and exploring new places is always fun. Win-win! 

Closing Thoughts 

Being out of work is never easy. But by following a few (or all) of the guidelines listed above, you’ll grow in confidence, discipline, and wisdom. So when that next career door opens up (and it will!), you’ll be ready and able to march right through it. 

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