The last couple of weeks had me off on vacation. I suspect that if you are like me, when you have your own time away from work, your normal bedtime and getting up times change. I also found that my eating times changed – less rigid quite frankly. With a return to work, the routine of when to go to bed, rise, eat etc. have once again changed.
Now routine can be good or bad depending on how you perceive the routine in which you find yourself. I will admit that when my brain first engages in the morning and I shift between sleep and consciousness, there is part of me that knows the reason to get out of bed and commence the day at 5:00 a.m. is because it’s a work day. But really, I don’t begrudge that time to rise. It’s a quiet time from 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. which is when I start really getting ready to depart at 6:30 a.m. for work. Writing my blog during this hour and having a cup of tea is a routine that I look forward to almost every morning.
At work, there is a necessity to affix a block of time referred to as, ‘the lunch hour’. While at home, there is no need to eat at a rigid 12 noon or 1 p.m., but at work, where one’s schedule impacts on clients and co-workers alike, having a set and known hour for eating is not only a good idea, it’s mandatory. So while I’ll eat at home when I’m hungry, I eat at work when the clock says it’s time.
It is routine that many who retire mention in their goodbye speeches that they are looking forward to breaking away from; doing things on their own schedules. It’s also routine that some refer to as being greatly missed by some spouses who have theirs changed with the retirement of their significant other. “Since Harold retired and is around the house all the time, my whole routine has changed.” The next thing you know, Harold’s wife is telling Harold to get a hobby; get a new routine!”
Now routine also has an adverse affect on many who find themselves out of work involuntarily. Whether it’s a layoff, termination or quitting, having one’s daily routine disrupted can be frustrating and annoying. To go from a work routine to no accountability whatsoever sounds great to some, but many aren’t prepared for the responsibility that comes with all this, ‘free time.’
Generally there are two different kinds of behaviour most people engage in when they find themselves out of work involuntarily. Either a person gets immediately into a new job search routine, or they give themselves a short break – a week or two at the most, to mentally adjust and process the change, and then get into a job search routine. There is an inherent danger I must caution you about a third alternative; not job searching seriously beyond 1-2 weeks, as you’re developing a routine whether you realize it or not no matter what you do, and if you put off really looking for work seriously, you may just not get into the routine that is required to be successful.
It may sneak up on you gradually, but months later, you could find you’ve developed a routine of sleeping late, breakfasting late, watching television, playing a video game or reading a book, lunching late, more television and then having dinner. Where did the day go? The discipline that went hand-in-hand with your work routine could well be lost as your home routine doesn’t seem to require it. Job searching when you are unemployed however does require self-discipline and a routine in order to stay motivated and ultimately be successful in getting your next job.
So just like at work, it’s not a bad idea to create your job search zone. It might be an office in your home or just a desk with a phone, computer, paper, pens, calendar and away from distractions like the television. When you go to this area, it’s like going to work; this is where you apply yourself with discipline. Save the couch and the living room for your ‘breaks’, and the kitchen for your eating area.
Here’s an image all too well-known to some; the job seeker who goes about looking for work from home while still in their pyjamas. Believe it or not, you’ll probably be more successful sooner if you don’t do this, and maintain the routine of getting dressed shortly after you rise. Everything you do will be done just a little better if you look and act the part. A phone interview in your pyjamas might cause you to actually take it more casually then you would if you were dressed and your hair brushed, teeth cleaned etc.
If you recognize that your routine is doing you more harm than good, it might be time to make a resolution now to change your routine. It is very empowering to take control of your situation even when you are out of work. Shaking off a poor routine and replacing it with a determined attitude and a designated schedule is a great start to finding your next job. The shift that goes on between your ears as you mentally refocus yourself is one benefit you’ll immediately realize as you change your routine for the better.
Build reward time into your routine, but only after applying yourself to the task at hand.