Keeping yourself "work ready" when you can't go to work

If you don't have a job, or you can't go to work at the moment, but do expect to work again, then it's really important to keep yourself fit for work.   That means, emotionally, intellectually, and physically ready, willing and able for working, so that when you do get a job, you can handle it.

Of course, if you cannot go to work is because you're sick, then you need to focus getting good medical advice and then geting well.

But if there's some other reason - anything from not being able to find a job to your country being in lock-down because of a pandemic, then you need to do things to make sure that when a job is ready for you, you are ready for it.

There are three steps to this.

Firstly, set yourself some goals

Ideally, choose one or two things in each of these areas that you want to work on.
  • Job-hunting  (skip this one if the country is in lockdown, but you have a job to go back to afterwards)
  • Employment skills
  • Home and family
  • Hobbies
  • Community service
  • Something physical (sport or exercise).
Focus on daily and week-to-week goals.    Make sure they're realistic - things you can do in your current circumstances  (If you're on lockdown, then a goal to do 10 press-ups in the kitchen each day is just fine.

There are no right or wrong answers about what these goals should be:  Serving breakfast by 9am.   Reading with each child for 30 minutes a day.   Vacuuming the lounge three times a week.    These are all  great, so long they're something you can do with the time and resources you have.

Bigger goals are important in life, too.   But also, break them down into things you can achieve in a day or a week.  For example, "learn to program in Java" is far too large, but "Complete one chapter of the Java book every two days" is more realistic.

Next, plan your time

Think about how to organise each day and each week, so that you can and do succeed at your goals.

This is about giving yourself the structure and positive feedback that a job normally gives you - and this is the most important part of keeping yourself employable.

There's no right way to do this, but be guided by how life is when you're working:   If you'd normally have to get up at 6am every day, plan to get up at 6am.   If you usually work a night shift, plan your life around that timing.

Of course - be nice to yourself, too:  have proper weekends, and occasional "days off".   Just don't sleep late and amble through every day without a plan.

Finally carry out the plan, reward yourself, and prepare for next week

Once you've made your plan, you just need to carry it out. 

This can be hard when you don't have a manager or colleagues checking up on you.   You need to motivate yourself.   But it's worth it, when you achieve your goals and give yourself credit for them.

Above all else, this activity and feeling of achievement is what will make you ready for work - and the topics that you you have learned about will help too.

And every week or two, revise your goals and your plan:  make sure that you are spending your time doing things that you want to do, and that will benefit you in the long term.

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