Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Looking at your job search, does it seem like there are dozens of items on your to-do list but little time to get them all completed? Are you wondering how to improve your job search productivity?
If you’re looking for ways to boost your output and get more checked off your job search to-do list, we’ve got good news!
There are a variety of ways you can support your job search efforts. And even better news — most of these things are enjoyable and free.
10 Ways To Improve Job Search Productivity
Analyze this list to consider areas where you could adjust some of your job search processes. You might be amazed at how much more you can accomplish.
1. Celebrate Your Successes
Consider when you’re feeling the most productive. Is it when your willpower is depleted? Probably not. More likely, it’s when you’re feeling like you’ve just hit a milestone or managed a tricky task.
Psychologist David Desoto, Ph.D., tells us that celebrating success can help you stay motivated. And that boost of motivation might be just what you need to ramp up your job search productivity.
Something as small as rewarding yourself with a special beverage from your favorite local coffee shop can motivate you to tackle your to-do list with more efficiency.
2. Delegate Some Routine Tasks
There’s a lot that needs to happen during a job search. Consider what tasks you can delegate so you can focus your time on fine-tuning your job submissions.
That might mean focusing on reputable job sites instead of searching the internet and wading through hundreds of scams.
Are you in a position where you could work with a resume writer to update your resume or your LinkedIn profile? Those are time-consuming and tedious tasks that a professional could handle quickly.
What about adjusting tasks that conflict with your job search? Are you most productive in the mornings? Could you delegate morning commitments like school drop-off to another caregiver so you can have uninterrupted focus time?
3. Embrace Spreadsheets
Everyone says you need to get organized in order to master your productivity. And that makes sense. The more organized you are, the easier it is to follow up, and you’ll be better able to find contacts and update your resume to match job descriptions.
But have you really explored what it means to get organized or mapped out a strategy to improve your organization?
Analyze ways you could improve the productivity of individual steps in your job search process.
For example, could you track and organize your submissions and follow-ups using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel? Not only will you make your job search time more productive, but you’ll also gain a skill that can be incredibly attractive to employers.
4. Find a Mentor
When was the last time you tackled a new task without researching tips online? It can be difficult to find consistent information relevant to your specific situation.
On the other hand, finding a mentor who had a similar journey can help you streamline your job search. They can give you pointers on how to organize your job search tasks, connect with recruiters, and update your resume for the most impact.
And sure, you might be able to figure it out on your own, but a mentor with a similar career trajectory can help you streamline your job search process for increased productivity.
5. Get Daily Movement
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of your job hunt and forget that you need to fuel your mental and physical health. An easy solution is to ensure that you’re scheduling daily movement.
Harvard researchers highlight movement as a significant boost in managing anxiety and depression. Additionally, regular activity can help boost your energy and creativity—both factors in making the most of your job search time.
Daily movement doesn’t mean you need to run three miles every day. You can incorporate movement with a standing desk and an alarm that reminds you to move routinely.
And taking a walk can give your body a break from the long hours of sitting that a job search typically brings.
6. Get Fresh Air
Speaking of movement, how are you balancing all that time in front of your computer? Are you burning the candle at both ends? If so, it may be time to get outside.
According to a recent study, just 29 minutes spent outdoors can increase productivity by 45%. Consider simply moving your laptop to the patio or a local park to reap the benefits of fresh air.
7. Incorporate Mindfulness Activities
By now, you’ve likely heard about mindfulness, and you might think it’s just a trendy buzzword.
But research continues to show that mindfulness does more than simply relax you. Activities like yoga and meditation can actually change the areas of your brain responsible for memory, problem-solving, and controlling emotions.
To start, try adding 10 minutes of meditation time to your daily schedule. That short bit of intentional downtime can make a big impact on how productive your day is.
Keep a journal and note how you feel afterward. Pay close attention to how you interact with job listings. Perhaps, after meditating, you can craft winning bullet points more easily, or find creative ways to communicate your transferable skills.
When you find something that works for you, work it into your daily routine.
8. Maintain Your Career Development
How does your job search fit into your long-term career plans? Even if your job search isn’t by choice, it’s important to remember that it’s just one stage in your career.
Make sure you schedule time for career development, rather than putting everything on hold until you land a job.
You’ll gain valuable skills that can help you stand out to recruiters, and you’ll be engaging with your industry in new and exciting ways. Learning something new can fire up your enthusiasm and passion. The more creative and energetic you are, the more effortlessly you’ll tackle your job search tasks.
9. Pursue a Hobby To Enhance Your Creativity
When you fully invest in your job search, it’s easy to become ultra-focused. But what if getting a little less focused is the key to standing out in a competitive job market?
You might think of a hobby as wasting time when you could focus on your job search tasks. However, research tells us that creative pursuits require divergent thinking.
The creative thought process exercises a part of your brain that you might not necessarily use otherwise.
You’ll improve memory, lower stress, and increase problem-solving skills — all of which can have significant impacts on your overall job search productivity.
10. Stay Social
Spending all your time job searching leaves little time or energy for social interactions. And being unemployed during your job search can limit your chance for small talk and building more relationships.
Even though it might seem like you’re wasting valuable job search time, socializing can boost your productivity.
Instead of trying to interpret your job search independently, social interactions allow you to bounce ideas off others. You’ll launch creative ideas and give your mind a break from routine job search tasks.
Not to mention, social interactions can help lower your cortisol levels, which inhibit your ability to focus. So, call up a friend and grab some coffee to boost your productivity.
Make the Most of Your Job Search Time
Rather than tackle your job search haphazardly, take the time to build a job search routine that includes connecting with others, getting fresh air, pursuing wellness activities, rewarding yourself on occasion, and implementing productive strategies.
Incorporating even a few of these suggestions will help you maximize your job search time and maybe even enjoy the process a bit more.