How to Manage Your Time When Unemployed

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As we mentioned in our Unemployment Checklist, experts are predicting an unprecedented wave of unemployment in the wake of Coronavirus. Odds are high that either you or someone you know will have to adjust to the reality of being laid off.

We’ve covered How to Survive a Recession Financially, so here’s a few ideas on how to manage your time when unemployed, and maintain your sanity.

Treat yoself! Then, find a routine.

No one is making you get up at the same hour you did for work, but inserting some structure to your day will increase your productivity, and in turn, boost your morale! For example, you can dedicate 2 -3 hours daily towards strictly job hunting. Set aside another hour or so to exercise or go for a walk.

Even though it’s easy to stay up until 2 AM watching “Tiger King,” try to maintain a decent sleep schedule. You are now an athlete, and your training goal is to land a job, so “exercise” with that goal in mind!!

Job hunting is a numbers game – the more applications you get out there, the better your odds

Adjust your budget.

The good news is that with everything shut down thanks to Ms. Rona, there’s fewer things to spend money on! So here’s some tips on living frugally while unemployed and under quarantine:

  • Review your credit card statement for recurring charges: You’ll be surprised how much you’ve been paying for stuff that you either don’t remember signing up for in the first place, or just forgot to turn off. One time I found a set of fraudulent charges, that I had unwittingly been paying for over the course of an entire year!
  • Limit your Uber rides: But because we’re all staying at home, you’re already doing this….RIGHT?!
  • Grocery shop wisely: If you’re a Whole Foods ride or die, now may be the time to switch to Trader Joe’s for staples like eggs and milk.
  • Consider selling stuff you don’t need: Since we’re all sequestered to our houses, how is a great time to go through all of your “stuff.” Don’t let it overwhelm you – pick one area, maybe a desk drawer, or one kitchen cabinet, and progress gradually. You’ll be amazed what you might find, and hey, some of it might have a resale value!

Talk to your family.

Being laid off is bad enough, but having to face the day to day grind on your own, with your family far away, can add extra psychological toll. If it’s within your budget, take some time off to visit your family. If that’s not affordable, regular FaceTime or Zoom calls are a great way to stay connected.

For me, one unexpected perk of being unemployed while I was living in California was that I could finally find time to call my parents on the east coast. While I was working, between the commuting schedule and 3 hour time difference, I rarely got more than a 30 minute conversation. I ended up having a lot of great heart to hearts with my parents.

Honor your emotional journey.

If you have a core group of individuals that you know you can trust and be frank with and feel that sharing your circumstances may alleviate the emotional burden, by all means, reach out!

However, don’t feel pressured to tell everyone about what you’re going through. If it hurts you to bring it up, or you simply don’t want to talk about it – don’t.

Understand that this is a moment in time, and this situation does not define your entire identity. You might need some time to build up your confidence sea legs again – and if not talking about unemployment helps you as you recapture your identity, then honor your journey.

Comment below on some of your favorite tips to manage your time, whether unemployed or not!

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