Structure Builds Confidence
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Remember the first day of first grade? Scary time! It felt very strange to be
in a new school room with some friends but mostly new kids and a teacher you had
met just that day. It probably didn't take long to realize that things would be
What did the teacher do to make us feel comfortable? She started by giving
each day a structure so that we knew when our group would be reading, when we
had our milk and cookies, when it was music time and when it was recess. Knowing
what to expect each day, made us feel confident and comfortable.
Just as that structure helped for first grade, a structure in our work life
can help us today. What kind of structure do you have in your work or job search
to make you feel confident and comfortable? Have you made a schedule that has
blocks of time allotted to your activities? Most people do use a schedule to
keep track of appointments with others. How about using it to keep track of
appointments with yourself?
Tom was searching for a new job. When I asked him what he did each day, he
told me the major portion of his day was spent applying for jobs on line. Tom
said he also made calls to his network and followed up on jobs he had applied
He identified all the tasks he needed to do but at the end of the day he had
the feeling he had not accomplished much.
Frequently Tom got caught up in the online application and/or research
process and never got to making calls or follow up. Does that happen to you?
With a daily schedule Tom blocked out times to do the different activities
necessary to complete his job search tasks. His schedule ended at 3pm so he had
time to workout or do something for himself.
Now he could look at his schedule at the end of the day to see what he had
accomplished. In addition he could start the day knowing exactly what he was
going to be doing. Of course it takes commitment to stick to the schedule
Just like the first grade structure this new job search structure made Tom
feel in control and confident. Sure he still needed to find work and being out
of a job was scary but now that he was really focused on the job search he had
confidence he would find something.
Mary became a client because her practice was not growing. She got some
referrals but she never had time to market her practice. She said she was just
too busy doing the work.
The amount of time Mary decided she needed to spend on marketing was
relatively small because she had a good referral base - maybe 3 or 4 hours a
week at most. Sometimes the marketing activity was a breakfast or lunch with a
referral source; other times it was a couple of phone calls to prospective or
former clients. She sometimes used the time to work on writing an article for a
What helped Mary most was to see that she could complete her work if she
stuck to the schedule. Mary chose marketing activities that were fun for her so
that she looked forward to them as a nice break from her legal work.
I use this method myself. I make my schedule on Monday morning from my active
project list. (My client appointments are already on my calendar.) Some of my
clients choose to make their schedule on Friday before they leave for the
weekend. A few have decided that it is an activity they can do late Sunday
afternoon. Choose a time that works for you and then create your schedule and
stick to it. Another benefit to doing this is that you'll begin to schedule
outside or client appointments to allow you to have blocks of time for your desk
or computer work.
Take Action 1. Take a few minutes at the end of the day today to decide what
you must do tomorrow. Block out the time to complete the work on your calendar.
See how it works for you? If you feel it supported you, move on to #2. 2. Decide
on a day at the end or beginning of the week to write a schedule for the whole
week. Be sure to look two or three weeks out to know exactly what is coming up
so you do the necessary work. 3. Make a list of fun activities you have wanted
to do regularly but have never had the time. Perhaps it is working out, going
for a walk, reading a book, or meditating. Fit one or two into your schedule as
a reward for yourself. Commit to working the schedule. 4. Systems such as
scheduling time are important to every business. What other systems are
necessary for your business? Here is a top ten list I wrote on that topic
About the Author
Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (the attorney's coach) and a Career
Transition Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and
Road to Success, an ezine. To subscribe go to her website
http://www.asparker.com Parker's Value Programę enables her clients to find
their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. Her clients are
attorneys and people in transition. She may be reached at 781-598-0388.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-15 17:38:06 in Business Articles