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Making the most of time - 8 things to do while on furlough leave

If you’re reading this post, chances are you have been furloughed, like me, or are noticing a decrease in your workload. If you haven’t already read my last post – the gift of furlough, you can read it here where I talk about the looking at furlough as an opportunity of time. Time to work on yourself.

Here is a list of things you can do during your furlough leave.

1. Develop a career plan

This is a good time to start thinking about your career trajectory. Evaluate your current position, ask yourself where it is you want to go and plan to get there. What does the plan look like – does it mean you need to upskill? Are there changes in your industry you need to be aware of?

2. Fix your CV and update your LinkedIn

It takes a bit of reflection to get this right. Look at what projects you have been involved in over the past years detailing your key achievements and why it went well or didn’t go so well. By doing this you are able to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this knowledge will be beneficial during job assessments and interviews. Next, you will now need to update your CV.

Write it in a concise and clear manner. From this, you’re ready to update your LinkedIn. Make sure that your personal statement is clear and to the point and you include ALL your skills. It’s also a good time to reach out to colleagues and friends to endorse you on those skills or write a review/recommendation.

While we are on the topic of LinkedIn, you can also try out their Premium feature and benchmark your profile to others in your industry. It also provides really useful insights of how you rank against other applicants when applying for jobs.

3. Upskill

You not only have to upskill for your professional life, there may be other things you can do as part of your personal goals and values. Learning to bake, or to barbeque (like I am trying to) or even simply master a new habit like reading consistently. Research suggests that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

4. Declutter your life

It might be time to evaluate your life and see what areas are cluttered- both physically and mentally. These can include your house/garage, social media, friends and even emails. How many emails do you get a day or in a week? Is that information purposeful to you? If not, hit that unsubscribe from mailing list button. Decluttering will help you make space in your life for things that really matter.

5. Sort your finances

Worth checking whether you need all those subscriptions. For example, the gym (since you can’t go there due to lockdown restrictions). The key to sorting out your finances is first, see where you stand, budget then begin cutting costs and see that savings pot increase. The small changes you make now will have a big impact in the long run.

For example, say you work in London and buy lunch everyday instead of preparing something at home. On average you will spend about £8 on a lunch meal (and let’s not even get started on cocktail hours). That’s £40 per week whereas if you shop from the supermarket you may only need to spend £20.

6. Practise mindfulness

The purpose of mindful practise is focusing your attention on the present moment – and accepting it without judgement. You can start by being mindful of your breathing, the amount of news you read and meditate.

7. Exercise

It is important to include exercise in your routine. It is recommended that you spend an hour a day exercising, and this could be in the form of walking, online Zumba sessions or running.

8. Read more, listen to podcasts and/or TEDx talks

This will help to improve your vocabulary, increases knowledge and sharpen memory. Also a great way tolearn from others’ experiences.

9. Monetize your talents

A good way to get an additional stream of income is by looking at what you are good at and start charging people for it. Like, if you are a good planner and like planning parties you can sell services for event coordination. If you are good at doing hair, you can start there. A lot of the time people think of starting a new business from scratch is the way to go. Most of the time it is, if you have the idea but if you don’t then look within first.

What else have you been doing? I’d love to hear it in the comment section.

As a fun way to keep my fellow furloughnians going. Why don’t you take part in my Furlough Bingo and post on social media to encourage your friends to join in also.

Ruth Kudzai Furlough Bingo

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