Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Colleges are closed. Exams are canceled. Trips are postponed.
You cannot venture out of the home to meet your friends. Which means you are locked at home with no one to meet and nothing much to do. While this is not a situation you were looking forward to, you can still turn it in your favor by taking this as an opportunity to focus on things that you have been postponing for a while. Instead of being sad (or depressed) about things you cannot control, concentrate on what you can.
Here are a few actions you can take to utilize the free time while you are sheltered at home that will benefit your career in the long run –
Create a 3-Week Plan
Oh, I still have 20 more days. I will begin this from tomorrow. When you have ample time at hand, it is easy to feel lazy or get distracted. Creating a day-by-day plan will ensure that you have a timeline you need to follow and you cannot afford wasting days.
Wanted to complete an online certification? Just join it. Or spend time reading and understanding the stock market to finally be able to utilize it a money-making side gig. Or make a new killer resume.
New job? New Career? New City?
Whatever your career goals are, note them down, get to work on them, and track daily progress to know you are on track for your 3-weeks plan.
Be Informed but Keep Anxiety at Bay
With so much happening around, it is natural to be glued to news channels or phones following everything related to the pandemic. However, while it is important to stay informed, you cannot let yourself get swept away by the continuous barrage of updates on the virus.
To keep your mind calm, it is important that you follow, read and watch things other than those related to the pandemic as well. Pick up a novel, start sketching or simply cook your favorite dishes.
Remember, your thought process and creativity takes a dip when you are constantly on your toes waiting for the next piece of startling news to come by. You cannot control what’s happening outside but you can control what’s in your mind.
Introspect Your Career Moves and Plan Future Moves
Instead of constantly thinking of what is going to happen next, use the time to introspect your career moves and how your career is moving.
Where do you stand right now? Is this following the career plan you had in mind a few years ago? What are the opportunities that exist now but didn’t exist before? How can you use these new opportunities? How has the industry changed in the last few years and are you ready and upgraded with the latest technologies?
It is also important to understand that there will be a lot of economic challenges once the pandemic is over. Therefore, you need to bring more on the table as compared to your peers to be able to deal with job-cuts and layoffs.
Use the Time to Add Value to Your Resume
The lockdown is the best time to enhance your skills and take on things that will add value to your resume. You can plan and take online courses and certifications. Or you can use this time to work on your communication and analytical skills.
You can also work to improve your online portfolio. For example, if you are a graphic designer, create an infographic showing information on the pandemic. Or if you a coder, contribute to open source or work on an independent project. If you are a data analyst, create an easy-to-understand datasheet. This will also help you educate others while adding value to your resume.
These are the testing times where only those win, who work to win. Either you can use the 21-days lockdown period by constant worries, depression, anxiety or you can choose to focus on things that will benefit your career and your personality as a whole. The choice is yours.
When things get better, you will want to look back at the time and feel proud of what you have achieved. Be strong and be wise.
And most importantly, stay home!