30 minutes to a new Career!

Do you find yourself always putting things off? Meaning to get down to certain tasks, and then finding that a week, a month, or even a year has passed and you still haven’t started them? How does that make you feel? – irritated? guilty? a failure?

Let’s just say you desperately want to get a new job.

(You desperately wanted to get a new job at the beginning of 2012 as well, but you’re still in the same place…)


Many people when faced with a substantial task such as finding a new job, will keep putting it off, or set themselves impossible targets such as ”I’ll look for a job on Tuesday’. What happens when Tuesday comes around? The housework looks tempting doesn’t it? Also the car needs a good clean, and those phone calls really need to be made. You may sit down to start the job search, but find a million excuses to get up off your chair. How many cups of tea do you need?!

Setting yourself unrealistic targets usually results in nothing or very little being achieved. So what can you do?


Yes, just 30 minutes is all you need to really get your job hunt going. How? you ask. Listen up……

If you knew that you only had 30 minutes to do something, you’d be pretty focused right? Right. And that’s the key to the 30 minute method. All you need is: 1) A diary and 2) A timer .

• Choose one thing that you’ve been putting off (ie: job hunting, career change, CV writing…)

• Put a 30 minute session in your diary now. (Sooner rather than later, what are you waiting for!)

• Find or buy an electronic timer (not expensive, usually magnetic so can stick to the fridge)

• When it’s time for your 30 minute session, set the timer for 30 minutes, sit down and write a list of all the things you can do to achieve your goal and prioritise them. If you have time, start the first task on the list.

• Once your 30 minute session is up, STOP. Put everything away. DO NOT be tempted to carry on.

• Put another 30 minute session in your diary for this week (Yes this week!)

And voila! You have achieved the hardest bit – getting started. How do you feel? Good? Happy? A little bit smug? That’s great. Remember that feeling for when you’re scheduled to start your next 30 minute session. In the next and subsequent 30 minute sessions, act on your priority list, and work through a bit at a time.

So, you see? Finding that new job isn’t so hard after all. The key to the 30 minute method is the fact that for 30 minutes you can be totally focused on the task in hand. You know it’s going to end soon, so it’s not so hard to get down to it. The trick is to STOP when the timer goes off, because this gives your brain the message that it is only 30 minutes (really!), and it will motivate you to do it again. Especially as you left the task in full flow, full of eagerness AND it made you feel good! Depending on how busy you are, you can schedule in a few 30 minute sessions into your week, or you may want to start with one per week and build up. It doesn’t matter. You know what’s realistic for you.

Don’t forget to use this method for other things you’ve been putting off; the paperwork, decluttering, the letter pile…….. Right. I can’t put it off any longer, I’m off to set the timer!


Sarah Archer and Lila Veltze are co founders and Career Coaches at CareerTree, an organisation that helps people make positive changes to their working lives. They are both mums and between them have over 15 years experience of helping other mums back to work. To book a free 15 minute telephone consultation to discuss how they can help you design your career visit: www.careertree.org.uk

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