Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Three Ways to Get the Most Out of Now

I've written two editions of "Write Great Resumes Faster" and I still continue to collect ideas for how to produce effective resumes in a shorter amount of time.

(I was talking with a colleague recently, however, and want to clarify that by "faster," I don't mean in 20 minutes. But if you routinely take 4-5 hours to write a mid-level professional resume, we might be able to shorten it by an hour or so -- without diminishing your results!)

Here are a couple of ways to help you improve your productivity, without sacrificing quality.
  • Write the most difficult resumes first. If I have two resumes to write, and one is for a sales professional and one is for an IT analyst, I'd like to write the sales one first, but I make myself start with the technology one. We tend to do what we like first, yet the resumes we find the most difficult to write often require the most creative energy.
I often find myself overwhelmed by some projects, and procrastinate getting started because I'm not confident I can put together an effective resume for this particular client. I need all my mental energy to tackle these projects. If you find yourself consistently flummoxed by a certain career field, however, it might be time to team up with a colleague to refer those projects out.
  • Create a regular writing area. When you use the same place to write each day, your mind and body become trained. When you set up in that particular place, you can focus on the task at hand more quickly. I write best sitting on the floor of my office in front of my space heater -- all year long. I can't write when I'm cold, and I have a lap desk to make the writing more comfortable. When I get down on the floor, the words just seem to flow naturally.
In the same vein, I don't recommend writing in bed. For one thing, when I get into bed, I aut0matically feel tired. Second, it's important to separate your work area from your personal area. Writing can be stressful, and writing where you sleep can make it difficult to get to sleep when it finally is time to put the pen down for the day.
  • Get a focus on your focus. I have a mild form of attention deficit disorder. I think mine is "environmentally based" -- that is, it's developed because of being self-employed. When you constantly switch between dozens of tasks in a day (client management, accounting, IT guru, collections specialist, etc.), distractability is inevitable. Breaks in concentration can be caused by internal or external interruptions. Minimize external disruptions by closing your e-mail program and turning off the ringer on the phone, and shutting the door.
Internal distractions are harder to shut out. I sometimes get distracted by all the other stuff I should be doing. One option is to do that other task right now ... or write yourself a reminder note and do it later. You have to figure out what works best for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment