I never thought I’d find myself unemployed at the age of 25. But life is known to throw curve balls, so here I am… 25 and unemployed.
On one hand, being unemployed gives you a sense of freedom. Freedom from the 9-5 lifestyle. Freedom from requesting vacation days. Freedom to sleep in or binge watch Game of Thrones all day.
But if you’re anything like me, this total freedom can have its downsides. You see, I have a lot of energy. My brain needs to be working because I’ll get bored just sitting around. I need to be productive to feel a sense of accomplishment. Also, being unemployed means you aren’t really raking in the $$$, so your financial freedoms are limited.
After my company announced its closure in February and I moved to Denver, I thought I would be able to find a job easily. I’ve applied to a ton, and interviewed at many, but nothing has worked out. So while on the hunt for my next dream job, I try to find motivating activities so I don’t fall into a deep, dark hole of laziness.
Here are six ways I stay productive while in between jobs:
1. Wake up early
This is critical! The first two weeks of my unemployment was wasted because I slept in every morning. Then I decided to get up when Deej left for work at 7:30am and my days became so much more productive. It’s important to have self-discipline and to create your own routine, or else you may find yourself feeling groggy and un-inspired.
I volunteered a lot when I was younger but it fell to the wayside when I was working 40 hour weeks. Now that I have unlimited time, I’m able to invest it in causes that mean something to me. This summer I volunteered with Girls Inc. in Denver and it was a great experience! I helped empower the next generation of girls to feel strong, smart and bold by teaching them self-defense, entrepreneurship and embroidery. Helping others is always a great way to spend your free time. I like to use Volunteer Match to find opportunities near me, but there are a ton of other resources you can check out!
3. Stay physically active
Not only does working out boost your energy but it also boosts your confidence (and happiness!). I’ve challenged myself to stay active and workout regularly now that I have the time. It’s easy to sink into your couch and eat chips all day, but I promise you will feel SO much better if you opt for an hour at the gym or a quick Tone It Up video. Just be sure to watch what you’re eating so junk food doesn’t ruin your post-workout high!
4. Use your brain
I come from the world of digital marketing and social media, and everyone in the business knows things are constantly changing. It’s important to keep my finger on the pulse of industry news and updates while out of work so I’m not playing months worth of catch up when I land a new job. Typically I see what’s trending on social media each morning, read articles from some of my favorite blogs and websites (Business Insider, AdWeek), and take time to look for freelance opportunities.
5. Network, network, network!
You know what they say – “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.”, and honestly, whoever they are, they’re right. Networking is super important, especially when you’re in a new city. It gives you the opportunity to meet people in your chosen field or who have similar interests as you, providing you with potential job opportunities, mentors and friends. You never know who you may run into or how they will affect your life, so be sure to put yourself out there! For career networking events I use BuiltIn, but you can also join sites like MeetUp or your local Toastmasters group. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn or via social media. We are one big connected world now!
6. Start a passion project
I’ve had this blog for a few years but never really put the time into making it successful, or even consistent. It is my passion project and I’m finally able to fully invest my time and energy in it! Blogging helps me keep my writing skills sharp, serves as my creative outlet, and could even end up making me money one day. Passion projects are essential, and unemployment gives you the opportunity to throw yourself into one. Take advantage and see where it takes you!
These are just some ways I’ve been able to add meaning to my days while unemployed. I hope this helps inspire those of you who are between jobs to be productive and motivated! If you have any other tips or suggestions feel free to leave them in a comment below.