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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 ok though.

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 for.

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 rigorously.

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 publication.

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 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

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