William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, hit the nail square on the head more than 300 years ago when he offered the following: “Time is what we want the most, but what we use the worst.” Job seekers and changers can point to time as both their best friend or their worst enemy as they attempt to navigate the myriad transitions involved in getting from they are career-wise to where they want to be.
In my book, Career Errors, Straight Talk About the Steps and Missteps of Career Development, I encourage job seekers and changers, even those with less than stellar time management skills, to bend over backwards to make time their ally in the transition process. For far too many, it is the enemy.
Basic Principles of Time Use
If candidates for employment are going to be the best brokers of the time available to them in any career or education decision, they must understand six basic principles of time use that will impact what you get done and how long it will take.
Those principles include:
The ability to prioritize - Effective job seekers and changers will prioritize, not procrastinate, in their quest to identify and move into a more desirable position in the workplace. They know that indecision, not decision-making is a time waster.
Create a plan and stick-to-it – Job search and acquisition strategies are best accomplished when they are part of a larger, more comprehensive career plan, a blueprint that has milestones and measurable outcomes to assess progress.
Address change as an opportunity, not a threat – When dealing with the inevitable, the unprepared and anxious job seeker and changer is more likely to miss opportunities and be thrown off course than the one who sees change as an opening or prospect.
Know when and how to decide - After all of the facts have been gathered, all of the options identified and all of the consequences determined, it is time to make a decision. And every decision should have built-in evaluation mechanisms to employ to ensure success.
Identify and arrest your “time bandits” – Determine at the outset who the culprits are and set out to arrest them, toss them in jail and throw away the key. Behaviors are learned. Bad behaviors can be replaced by good behaviors if one only exerts the required measure of discipline and self-control.
Stay healthy - Never underestimate the influence which diet, sleep, exercise, and relaxation can have on the job seeking and change process. Sound health (physical and mental) is an essential element in career development success.
When the candidate acquires a command of these six principles and practices them in the appropriate manner, they will lead to both efficiency and effectiveness in time management. The ultimate achievement will be similar to that by advanced management guru Peter Drucker. Drucker, the consultant, educator and author who gave use the “management by objectives” concept said the following about efficiency and effectiveness; “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”