As I was looking around the house this weekend, I happened to notice some repair work that needed to get done. Nothing major, but none-the-less, noticeable things. I realized that I’d been walking by these blemishes for months and had turned a blind eye to them. It feels overwhelming when I think about fixing them in bulk. But, when I think about each project individually, certainly there is no reason the can’t be accomplished. So, why haven’t I?
We Need A Punch List
In order to carve out time and dedicate energy to a project, task, or anything, we have to give it a spot on our list. When you think about everything you have to do in a day, adding one more item might seem impossible. But when there’s a will, there’s a way.
When I was working for a start-up, we were revamping the space and as the project drew to a close, we created a punch list for the contractor. These were the remaining fixes we wanted completed. Usually, these were minor details but we were still expecting them to get resolved. Each day, each week, we shared the punch list and its progress with the contractor until finally the work was completed to our satisfaction.
Clear and Actionable
The list of items on our punch list was clear and actionable. The contractor understood what we meant and knew what he had to do to complete the fix.
We were anxious to have the project completed so we could open our doors. The contractor was anxious to finish the project so he could allocate his resources to other projects and claim the rest of his payment from our project. These issues drove everyone involved to want to complete the work as soon as possible.
Your Career – Your Search
You probably figured I would tie this in to career related content and here I go.
You have a punch list, right? You already have a daily list a mile long with tons of important personal and work related assignments to complete. Do you have such a Punch List for your career or job search? What do you need to do to advance, move, or grow? Are there skills you are missing or certification you need? Are there events you should be attending, groups you should belong to or people you should meet? Are there job leads you need to followup on? Applications pending? Target employers to research? Come on. Put this stuff on a list so you can’t ignore it. But don’t stop there.
You punch list has to be clear and actionable. If you haven’t identified the specific steps you need to take, it will be darn-near impossible to check it off the list. For example, don’t just list “training.” Instead, specify the type of training, who offers it and how much it costs. Then you can figure out who will pay for it and when you will take it.
What was it that made you list items on your punch list? What was your motivation? Most likely, the ones you are more excited about are the ones you will make time for and get done first. Giving time-lines or deadlines prioritizes things as long as you don’t let time-lines slip.These things have to be seen as time sensitive in order to hold priority over daily fires and life explosions.
So what is on your punch list this week? Is it actionable? Is it time sensitive? Write it down!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.