The Hunt: Using Your Filofax As a Job Hunting Tool

In these economic times, many people are in transition through sudden job loss or impending job loss. However a job loss occurs can be stunning but it can be particularly disconcerting if it is a sudden loss as there is no time to prepare. This is a time when you must remain focused on the functionality of your organizer and making it work in your job search. It should be relied upon to keep your finances in check, your daily activities scheduled, motivational tools at hand, and of course, job search tools at the ready.

I’m in the market for a full-time opportunity, whether it is a job or exploring business opportunities for a part-time position that I have. In fact, I have a section in my Filofax devoted entirely to this “project”. If you’ve seen pictures of my Filofax, you’ve probably seen the section called “The Hunt”. It sounds aggressive because you have to be aggressive in this tight market; I wanted to be reminded of that reality. Everyone’s search will be different based upon your field however, some aspects of the job search are pretty universal.

The Hunt

The Hunt

I started out considering the lists that I wanted in my “Hunt” section. These are some of the pages I have in my section:

  • To-do List – I list things to-do that are directly related to the hunt like, “call recruiter”, “check XYZ job board”, “register for CLE”, “edit resume”, “create a resume highlighting X skills”, and so on. I try not to muddle my daily to-dos with my hunt to-dos.
  • CLE Opportunities – Where I can find free or low cost CLE courses.
  • CLE Records – Keeps track of the CLEs I have taken (when, where, number of credits earned, numbers of credits I need), and reports I need to make to the state.
  • Compensation received – Tracking any money that comes in that I must report later.
  • Applications – Some applications will be saved on the job board and others are via email. I keep a list just to keep me on track with those applications that are not captured on the job board. While, I may get a confirmation email, it’s simply easier to see in a list format in my Filofax.
  • Firms and companies – A list of the firms or companies in my target area.
  • Employer List – I use a Filofax address sheet to list my former employers’ addresses. Some online application systems require you to put in so much information. After the initial gathering, it is very easy to complete the forms because I have all of the supervisor names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc. It really helps to expedite the process.
  • References – I also use a Filofax address sheet to record their information.
  • Websites – This is a list of job boards and company sites with sign-on and password information.
  • Search terms – You may search for jobs using your former title but you’d be surprised at what comes up in your search as you expand terms. I keep a list of terms to search beyond “lawyer” or “attorney”.
  • Networking opportunities – List of events for networking at association or alumni events, personal relationships, and the like.
  • Business development ideas
  • Skills development – While I have some extra time, I use it to maintain current skills and develop new ones.
  • Contacts – List of contacts specifically for the job hunt like recruiters, human resources departments, and other important numbers.
  • Goals – Establish your goals and what you hope to find in a new position. Be specific regarding salary, benefits, location, work environment, company size, grade/level, etc. This is meant as a guide to help direct your search and to make informed decisions on compensation when you consider things like benefits, commuting times, and the locale of the position.
  • Volunteer opportunities

TIP: You don’t need pre-made inserts to do this. You can create exactly what you need by doing it yourself. It really is simple. All I did was write the name of the list on a blank sheet of paper. I didn’t search the internet high and low for inserts that ultimately wouldn’t fit my needs. As for the Filofax address sheets, I already had those on hand.

I also have a reduced size resume printed on different color paper. I did this because if I am out and about and get a call about a job, I can have my resume in front of me. Of course I know what is on my resume however, I can be sure to emphasize specific skill sets without feeling like I’ve missed an opportunity to really market myself. I printed it on a bright color paper so that it is easy to find (the hot pink stands out among all of the white pages).

The resume on hot pink paper

The resume on hot pink paper

This is what I keep in my “Hunt” section. For the day-to-day to-dos, I keep them in the diary section of my Filofax. Be sure to schedule things like exercise, daily household routines, reading, or whatever helps to keep you sane.

While the results of a job hunt can sometimes be beyond our control, our daily routines can help us stay focused, push through, and give us a sense of control through this transition.

K.Y.S.S.

Franklin Covey Her Point of View Weekly Inserts for Filofax

Yesterday, I posted a review of the Franklin Covey Her Point of View monthly inserts to show how I’ve been using them for the last few months. I received the weekly inserts from the same collection last evening and wanted to show a preliminary look at how I prepared them for my Filofax. I can’t really do a review since I just received them however, I will update this post (or do a new one) once I’ve had a chance to “live” with them for a little while.

As I did with the monthly inserts, I trimmed off the holes (about 1/4 in.) and punched them for my Filofax. They are also lined, have whimsical designs, and pretty colors. I really like these inserts! Now, that I’ve found the pages that I will be using for 2014, I can really focus on the actual planning – to-dos, goal setting, etc., which is the reason we use these things in the first place. 😉

K.Y.S.S.

Product Review: Franklin Covey Her Point of View Monthly Inserts

I use the Franklin Covey Her Point of View monthly inserts in my personal size Aston Filofax. The Franklin Covey pages are a little wider than the Filofax pages so I trimmed down about ¼ inch and re-punched the pages. Some people use them without trimming however, the pages would interfere with the pen loop and stick out of my Filofax. It may depend on the Filofax you use that determines whether you need or want to trim them.

Monthly Tabs

Monthly Tabs

The calendar runs from July 2013 to June 2014. The designs are whimsical and colorful, yet clean and functional. The monthly spread is a month on two pages. It starts on Sunday and has a notes section after the Saturday column. The individual days are lined with enough space to record events, bill pay, work schedules, school schedules, appointments, and other notes.

Monthly View

Monthly View

TIP: Since the space is limited for a personal size, I use small stickers or drawn in symbols to track certain things. For instance, I track workouts with the hearts – I am concerned about my heart health and thought it was nicer than writing “gym”.  All of the hearts are in the same corner of each box in which they appear. I think that kind of consistency makes it easier to see tracked items as you start to fill up your pages. Consider appointments at the top, bills at the bottom, tracked items in the corners, etc.

Each month has an index to record certain events (on the right in the below picture). I use it and think it’s a great tool that works like a quick reference or “hot” sheet. I record such things as my license renewal, important phone calls or mailings, appointments, and project steps (for project planning).

At the end of each month is a master task list for personal and business tasks (on the left in the below picture). I think I could do a better job at using this going forward. I have a few tasks and goals listed here however, I think a better use of this section would be to clearly define monthly goals with perhaps the more important or substantive tasks, and long-term planning.

Monthly Tasks and Index

Monthly Tasks and Index

I have the whole year in my planner because I have the space. The paper is pretty thick and there’s no bleed through or show through with most gel, felt tip, specialty, and ball point pens that are in my stash. Even lighter color Sharpie permanent markers have very little show through whereas with Filofax paper, Sharpie permanent markers are a disaster.

I will soon start using the weekly inserts from this collection and these will be my inserts for 2014. I like them that much!

Yearly Calendars for Tracking and Future Planning

Using a yearly calendar is one way to track and plan for many things like:

  • Goals
  • Vacation schedules of family members
  • School closing dates
  • Work schedules
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Water intake
  • Exam and school assignment schedules
  • Projects for home and work

You can get a year at a glance view and it’s a great way to see an overlap of the things that you are tracking or planning; it gives you the “bigger picture”. For instance, a calendar with all school schedules, work schedules, and hard appointments, will allow you to see when the family is all together and available to make vacation or family outing plans without consulting multiple pages.

I use a yearly calendar to track my exercise and fitness goals. I use a key at the bottom left corner of the calendar to distinguish between the types of exercises I do – cardio vs. strength training or other kind of activity that I would like to track. This tool is meant to keep me motivated and to see my progress over a greater period of time.

Exercise Tracker

Exercise Tracker

Exercise Tracker 2

  Exercise Tracker 2

The one I use was printed from Philofaxy.blogspot.com under the file “Diary Inserts”. I changed up the fonts a bit, printed it on purple paper to find it more easily in my planner (no tabs for dividers needed). I then trimmed, punched and Z-folded it for my personal Filofax.

I would suggest that if you are tracking multiple items use lines that are different colors even if you’re not really into color coding. It makes it easier to see the various things being tracked.

The butterflies and flowers are optional. 🙂

K.Y.S.S.

My Prayer Journal

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I started a prayer journal several months ago. I wanted to pursue a closer relationship with God and increase my spiritual life to include more prayer, reading, and studying. It brings me comfort, inspires me, and allows me to see and reflect upon my life’s path as I move closer to Him.

I keep a prayer journal and a spiritual binder. The focus of my prayer journal is to record my prayers so that I can meditate on them later. I write them in a very conversational way and when I believe an answer to a prayer has been given, whether the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, I write about it, and mark it with a heart. That signifies that no matter what the response, I know that it is for my good.

Writing brings me a certain level of peace because I can record my prayers, get out on paper the things that are on my mind, those things for which I am grateful and prayers for others – all while increasing my faith in what God has planned for my life.

Here are a couple of pictures of the spiral journal I use for my prayer journal. It is a Piccadilly book from Barnes & Noble. I think it’s beautiful. It contains over 200 pages and measures 8½ x 11. I first set it up using an index to record topics, so that I can find them a little easier. I record the time and day that I write. I open my prayer with praise and thanksgiving and close acknowledging Jesus Christ. If I fail to leave space to write about the response, I simply write in the margins with a contrasting color. I also keep some of my favorite bible verses in my journal like the one above.

Piccadilly Journal

Piccadilly Journal

A peek at my pages

A peek at my pages

I don’t decorate but I use a little washi tape to adhere ephemera as I like.

There are some really good videos on YouTube about prayer journals and spiritual binders. Some of the things I learned in setting up my prayer journal, I learned from YouTuber Quelynn, Inc. If you’re interested in starting a prayer journal, check her out.

Like with most things, keeping a journal is very personal. Make it your own! 🙂

 

 

 

Transitioning to Natural Hair: A Healthy Hair Journey

A little over two years ago I decided to transition from relaxed/texlaxed hair to natural. Although I enjoyed my relaxed hair, I also enjoyed my color treated hair. Although I was able to maintain fairly healthy hair, I started to feel like the combination of the relaxer chemicals and lighteners used for highlights were not good for my hair over the long haul. I made the decision to transition because I believed that I could achieve a straight look without the use of chemical straighteners and this would give me a little bit more freedom on the color side, lessening the stress on my hair.

It’s been 26-months since my last relaxer. I have not been blogging about my experience but I will share some of the things that I’ve learned along the way. I know that there is a ton of information available on the internet about black hair care, however, I hope that some of the things that I’ve learned can add to the discussion. HHJ!

K.Y.S.S. and Commit!

That’s right! K.Y.S.S. (Keep Your System Simple) and commit to using it to its full potential.

There’s no wrong way or right way to keep a planner system. There’s only what works for you and what doesn’t.

With so many different planning tools, systems, and accessories, it can be overwhelming and you will wind up spending more money and time looking for the “perfect” system. While some experimentation is fun, too much can distract you from the purpose for which you started using a paper planner in the first place. If you were already a paper planner user, then you may have made complicated a system that was already working for you and are now in “planner fail”.

You can spend hours upon hours changing up your system, more money, more stuff – and still be dissatisfied.

I have always relied on paper tools to keep my schedule and task lists. I have used all kinds of planners – ring bound, spiral, bound books, with various formats – daily pages, WO2P formats, monthly pages only and a combination of them. Despite the book or format I used, my system was always fairly simple and worked for my needs.

I’d record my schedule, appointments, tasks, reminders, track billable time and important events or things of note. That system worked just fine for me at the various stages of my life.

After experimenting with my set-up over the last several months, I would have to say that my system has evolved, although the fundamentals of how I work are pretty consistent.

I use my personal Aston Filofax as my planner to hold my monthly and weekly pages. I use a separate notebook to write out my to-dos, project planning, and random journaling. Currently, I am using an Ecosystem Architect Notebook (with grid/graph paper). I love this system! It allows me to maintain my current system –  what I’m used to – but also give me room to expand and write as much as I like or need to without the bulk or weight of an A5 or desk size binder.

This is my personal size orchid Aston Filofax.

This is my personal size orchid Aston Filofax.

Ecosystem Architect Notebook

Ecosystem Architect Notebook

If a system complicates your life, it’s not working! Step back, evaluate your needs, take inventory of what you have, determine if there is something you really need to make your system effective (not just cute) and, wait for it…COMMIT!!!

The key to this thing is to find or create a system that works and stick with it. Your productivity will increase once you shift your focus on using the planner system you have. It’s okay to tweak your system along the way as your life or needs change. However, complete overhauls can have the opposite effect. For instance, I am looking for new business opportunities so I created a section devoted to that project and added it seamlessly into my planner. No overhauls required!

The whole idea for me is to be more productive, record as necessary, and plan.

There is no such thing as a perfect system. There is however a system that works perfectly for you. I love sharing ideas but I try not to overwhelm myself by incorporating too many ideas into my books.

Whatever your goals, don’t allow an overly complicated system or set-up distract you from its intended purpose. Remember to K.Y.S.S. and commit. 😉