One of the things I have learned as a recent graduate is that trying to navigate the job market can be rather discouraging at times. Knowing what kind of job you want is one thing, getting it is another. Setbacks are normal in regards to this process, but also in general; life can be quite good at throwing you some punches. The trick is to find ways to cope with this, and to work out how to keep your motivation levels high. I have had some time to work this out for myself, and thought I would share some of the things that have been working for me. Of course, it all comes down to figuring out what works best for you, and it might be the complete opposite of what I do. In any case, it is worth taking the time to try different things and see what helps you.
When you have a lot on your plate, it can be quite easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work you have to get done, and in turn become quite unmotivated to do it. If you are applying for jobs and your laptop is one hot mess of random bookmarks, cover letters, and saved applications, you are not creating a very motivating environment for yourself to work in. That is why good organisation is key.
Start with decluttering your work space. Go through your bookmarks and throw away anything that is not relevant (anymore), and add different folders to keep potential jobs separated from your saved banana bread recipes, cute cat videos, and gift ideas for your friends. Do the same for all the other files and documents on your pc. If everything is clearly named and in a designated folder, it will save you a lot of time and stress having to find it when you desperately need it.
Plan ahead. Whether you use an online diary or just an old-fashioned notebook, planning your day can be very fulfilling and even if you do not stick to it a 100% (which, in all honesty, I rarely do) it can provide you with a nice guideline. Do not overplan. Be reasonable and allow yourself enough time to work on a specific task, taking little breaks in between. It can also be useful to set aside a certain amount of time a day for a recurring task. That way you can build up a routine, without setting yourself deadlines that are too strict.
Make lists. I have been an adamant list maker ever since I started university. It just helps having all the information in one place, and in one glance you can get an idea of all the stuff you still have to do. You might think, hell no, I would rather not be confronted with all the tasks I have been putting off, but if you are really serious about getting them done this is the way to go. It’s easier to prioritise when you have all the information in front of you, and it takes away the stress of potentially forgetting about urgent and important tasks. While making lists might seem like a task in itself, do not be the person that just writes them and never looks at them again. Trust me, crossing things of your list is very fulfilling, even if it was just a minor chore you needed to get done.
Treat Yo Self
While being productive brings with it feelings of accomplishment and thus positivity, this might not be enough to get you through a long day of perhaps long and tedious tasks. That’s why it’s important to also take time to do things that you enjoy. Take little breaks from working. Cook yourself an amazing lunch, take time to listen to a few songs after every hour of work, or go on a refreshing walk with your dog. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you take some time away from the tasks at hand, so you can return to them with a refreshed mind.
You can also schedule something fun at the end of the day, that way you have something to look forward to. This can be as simple as just vowing to watch the newest season of a favourite series or going to the gym. If you feel most productive during the evenings you can also switch this routine around and start your day doing something you enjoy, so that you are in a good place to start work later. Whatever you do, make sure you take some time for yourself just before going to bed. That way you are more relaxed, and ready to start the next day on a positive note.
Setting goals for yourself can really help when you are struggling to find motivation. It is way easier to just get on with it when you know that you are working towards something. Set yourself deadlines and act as your own boss. This takes a fair amount of self-discipline, but at the end of the day you will be proud of yourself for reaching the goals you set out for yourself. Need an extra incentive? Why not plan a little day trip following your deadline. That way you will be extra motivated to get your work finished in time, so you can fully enjoy your day off without having to worry about overdue work.