“I love job searching,” said no one ever. I bet more people would opt in for a colonoscopy or a mammogram than a job search. At least with those exams you get immediate results. A job search can be taxing and the information out there – along with the resources – to help you job search only confirm that perception. Comments such as, “treat a job search like a full time job” are commonplace. As if anyone wants to treat a job search like a full-time job. One, they may have hated their last job. Two, you don’t get paid doing a job search; at the best you get an eventual result.

I have been Career Advising, coaching, consulting, and more for years. I have seen the very motivated crumble in a job search and the slow and steady gradually cross the finish line. Either way, it is a trek that requires resilience, perseverance, ingenuity, innovation, creativity, and more.

Recently, we posted an article on How to Create and Instagram Resume. It has had over 3,000 views on LinkedIn alone. The idea has also been pitched to a few large audiences with extremely positive reception. This is job search creativity at its finest. However, productivity in your job search is a whole other ball game. So how can you stay productive during this process? Well, I have one trick that seems to work for me, and it is a task jar. A what? You ask. A task jar – and I will tell you all about it.

I am always finding new and creative ways to be more efficient and productive. It is a trying task sometimes, but shaking up the norm is something I do best. I was searching for a way to help a very busy, deflated, and unfocused individual with their job search productivity. The regular task list just would not work for this person and I had to come up with something new. While helping one of my children remember French words for an upcoming test, I created tiny word cards for him to go through one by one. It worked! He was able to memorize the words better. Then it hit me that this may work for the person I am coaching. I took a stash of coloured index cards and cut them into small rectangular cards. I proceeded to write on each one, diversifying the colored card I used each time, and wrote a job search task. I wrote, “Apply to jobs” on at least seven cards. Then I wrote different quick exercises such as “20 squats” on seven cards. Then I wrote “reach out to one person in my network” on another seven cards. Then “post on a social media channel” on seven more. Then “listen to a 10 minute comedy skit on YouTube” on three cards. In all cases, I mixed it up; I found things the person really enjoys and made sure to incorporate that into their daily tasks. I folded the cards and put them in a jar. Every time a task was complete they could pull from the job and voila! It was a surprise every time. Especially when it was a task they enjoyed.

How to make a task jar:

1. Choose three – four different job search tasks and write them on several differently colored cards. Job search tasks to strongly consider including:

  • Apply to one job
  • Reach out to one person in your network
  • Research an ideal company
  • Practice an interview question

2. Choose three – four things you enjoy and write them on several differently colored cards. This could be:

  • A word search
  • Practicing the Git Up Dance on YouTube
  • Cleaning a small room in your house
  • Squats or other quick exercise
  • Spending 10 minutes on a puzzle
  • Writing a blog article

Once you have written them on the cards, mix up the pile. No one color should represent one type of task and voila you are done. You can get 100 of these cards at the Dollar store for $1.25. That is a cost you can cover I am sure.

Let us know what you think of this productivity hack!