If you’ve ever found yourself unexpectedly in between jobs, you may be familiar with that feeling of purposelessness, which creeps in as days begin to merge together, routines become mundane, walls start to close in, and you begin questioning the meaning of life.
What we often neglect to realize is that downtime in between jobs doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. In fact, when used effectively, it can prove to be an exciting and productive time in our lives.
Below are 10 ways to capitalize on that unanticipated downtime, so that it doesn’t feel so “down” after all.
1. Reconnect With Friends and Family
You know those lunch or dinner dates and phones calls you’ve been missing, because you’ve been so busy with work? Now, it’s time to make time for your tribe. Make yourself available to those who’ve been looking to touch base with you. Not only will they be happy to be of high priority in your life, but you’ll also feel rejuvenated in being surrounded by the community that most supports you.
2. Update Your Career Portfolio, Résumé, Website, and So On
This is the opportune time to tighten up your portfolio in preparation for your next opportunity. Update your résumé and your website, if applicable. Check the requirements on job boards for positions you may be interested in, and see to it that you’re all set and ready to go just in case an opportunity arises.
Lack of time and tired are no longer feasible excuses. Exercising reduces stress, uplifts the spirit, and adds to self-esteem—all of which can be very helpful during unexpected downtime.
4. Get Organized
A cluttered room often breeds a cluttered mind. Clean out your closet, purge your inbox, throw away old papers, and tidy up. A clean environment promotes focus, clarity, and productivity. Now that you have the time, there are no excuses for clutter.
5. Raise Your Social Media Profile
Use your idle time to increase your social media presence. Update your LinkedIn, follow industry influencers on Twitter, and engage them in conversation. Update your Facebook status, if you haven’t had time to do so in months, and engage your social media community. You never know, your next job could be a tweet away.
If you can afford a small trip, now would be an awesome time to take advantage. You won’t have to give up any vacation days, and you won’t have anxiety about emails piling up and/or work tasks going undone while you’re away. It’s really a win-win situation.
Try not to underestimate the power of a good book. Reading tends to stimulate the imagination and it works wonders for your vocabulary and worldly insight—both of which couldn’t hurt, when you’re back to circuiting the job market.
You’re going to be busy again before you know it, so this is the time to capitalize on rest and relaxation. Not only does it rejuvenate the body, but it also stimulates the mind and creates an opportunity to refocus, recharge, and reignite.
9. Plan Your Next Steps
There is no better time that now that to assess long- and short-term goals and map out a plan of action to tackle them. Use this time to decide what it really is that you want and figure out the necessary steps to get it.
After you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to get back out there. Search for gigs that you really want and apply, apply, apply!
Safon Floyd is the Digital Editor at Black Enterprise. Follow her @accordingtofon.