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The phrase, “4 on, and 4 off”, sounds a lot like a sports mantra or a board game.

What it means, is this: On any given day, ‘Spend 4 hours looking for a job and 4 hours doing something fun.’ The fact is, we never fully realize how mentally worn out and discouraged we become when we put all of our daily energies into searching for a new position. Even if you are currently employed, or just laid off looking for a new job before the ‘severance’ runs out, it’s frustrating doing a job search. It’s important to maintain a balance in your day.

If you lost your job, are changing jobs while you still have one, or if you are awaiting a promotion, it’s important to plan ahead and ‘re-energize the focus’ to find the right career opportunity for you.

Here are four areas where it makes sense to follow this ‘4 on, 4 off’ regimen when exploring new job opportunities:

1.      Work Diligently and Avoid the “Brain skips”.

Very often, as we feel our brain really clicking, its full steam ahead. When you’re in that groove, productivity and ideas are flowing! Tasks get accomplished, the right decisions are made, and things get checked off. But the human brain just wasn’t built for the extended periods of time that is expected these days – especially when we feel anxious exploring the ideal promotion or search for a new job. Focusing hard on multiple tasks for a long time isn’t something we’re going to be good at for very long. Mental breaks are important.

2.      Pace Yourself.

To help alleviate being mentally stale, take 4 hours working hard, then 4 hours doing something fun and active. Ideally, start the job search mode in the morning and go at it with gusto. We are at our best at the beginning of our day. If you read any study, it is statistically proven that regaining our focus, sharpness, and motivation come from getting things done and enjoying that well deserved break. Afterward, the senses are revitalized so you can be refreshed and productive.

3.      Eliminate the Distractions.

When you are focused on the 4 hours on, make sure the environment is ideal and comfortable for you. A home office is fine, but getting away from the daily responsibilities of being home can benefit your mental focus. Get out to a local library, an empty conference room in your local downtown municipality, or the campus career center at a local college.

4.      It’s a Numbers Game.

We’ve heard this many times, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’. Looking for a new position is a process. It takes time. Attention to details, follow up, more follow up, and disappointment. But its important to maintain consistency. In my coaching calls, I emphasize staying with it. Make that extra call or connection before you take a break. You can always work 5 more minutes when you think you need a break. Try it. It works. Sooner than later, you will get some results, your confidence will build, and you will feel good about things progressing.

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