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How to be Productively Unemployed

Updated on February 8, 2012

It's Important to Feel Productive

Yes, it is important, also, to apply for jobs, in my case as many jobs as possible, but if you're like me and in this economy you continuously strike out, you begin to feel like you're wasting your time, and for me this is the number one motivation killer. This post is as much a guide as it is an autobiography. I have been unemployed, in search of work for a little over a month and a half now, and between applying for every job under the sun I have found that it is important to do little (or big) things to keep myself from going crazy. So one day, after hours of job applications, I realized that now that I am no longer working I have all the time in the world to do what I want, or need to do. Since then, I have begun a yoga and meditation practice, cleaned my house, gotten on a diet, started a bolt, planned an herb garden for the spring, started reading books again, started tutoring, started a small crafts business, started down a path to a possible career in internet marketing, and sold books on Amazon; all while writing resumes, applying for jobs and maintaining a social life. I have actually applied for more jobs per day since I started doing other things with my life than I had when I was trying to cram in as many applications as possible, because I have relaxed my mind, focused on other things, and even made a little money (with no investment except for time) in the process!

Nurture Yourself

Nurturing yourself is a wonderful thing to do when you're without a job because you can do those things that you felt you didn't have time for when you were working. The diet that you've been meaning to try out, the exercise routine that you slipped out of, those are great things to pick up while you're unemployed. Not only will it have you in peak condition for your prospective job interviews, but those good habits that you formed will probably carry over into your life once you have a job, often people find that they have time that they didn't even know that they had for habits that they already established.

Follow Your Passion - Get a Hobby

Do you knit or crochet, do you bake, do you sew, do you like to photograph anything, do you paint, sketch, doodle, or make line drawings? Do you tinker, are you a builder of things? These are all things that you can explore while you are unemployed. Just sit down and pick up that hobby that you set aside, try it out again. Making things is a great way to relax your mind, and if you would like you can post it on a website (like or market it to your local shops (boutiques, trinket shops, and family owned cafes are the best), and make some pocket money just by exploring your hobby!

I have always had hobbies, as I love to make crafts of all kinds, but I didn't think I could make a business out of it until I applied myself. I decided that I'd take the crafts and baked goods that I made in my free time, photograph them, and create listings on (altogether, it didn't take me more than 4 hours) and not only have I eased my mind, but I have made over $300!

Clean Your House - Sell Your Junk

If you're like me, you have plenty of things that you know you should get rid of, but just didn't have the time to go through; with the free time you have now you can finally clean your home, get rid of your clutter, and create a less stressful environment.

There are a few lucrative ways to get rid of clutter:

  • Give clothes you no longer wear to Good Will (Be sure to get a receipt and you can claim it on your tax return $)
  • Sell your used books on Amazon, or to your local used book store, I prefer Amazon because I can do it from the comfort of my own home, but if you're a leave it and forget about it kind of person then the used book store is for you.
  • Sell clothes you no longer wear to a consignment shop

Use Your Talents

Everyone has talents, writing, dancing, people skills, the list could go on forever. Get creative and try finding temporary jobs that utilize your talent.

A Few Ideas Are:

  • If you're studious, got good grades, or know a second language try tutoring, either through an agency or by creating your own fliers. (Try to only meet in public places, this gives people more trust in you and keeps you out of danger)
  • If you can sing or play a musical instrument (preferably if you're classically trained) try giving lessons, same steps as for tutoring but usually you must meet in your home.
  • If you can dance, try going to the local dance schools to see if they need teachers.
  • If you can write, there are many article writing websites where you are paid to write (and write, and write) about predetermined subjects
  • Offer specialized private services based on your qualifications, for example a small business consultant for a business major.

Get creative and apply yourself, and you can find many productive (and lucrative) ways to use your talents while you're looking for a job.

Manage Your Time

The most important advice I can give you is to manage your time well. If you can create a good routine and remain productive while you are looking for a job, you can have a lot of success. Keeping a schedule and sticking to it can be a very difficult thing to do, but it pays off in the end, and you will carry your good time management skills over into your future jobs.

Your time is your most valuable resource, and rather than trying to spend most of it focusing on one thing, when in reality you're spending most of it stressing out or overcoming mental blocks, it is best to divide your time into three or more things. If you prioritize based on your goals, and stick to a good schedule, you can remain productive and keep feeling great!

I hope this guide will help you to make the most of your time unemployed! Happy Hunting!


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    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      6 years ago

      I've done a lot of volunteering most of my life. You get a lot of great experience that will add to your resume while you do something you love. I've been laid off a long time. Congratulations on your nomination.

    • pramodgokhale profile image


      6 years ago from Pune( India)

      I liked this topic. In western countries the problems are different but developing countries like India could not think this way .

    • Marla Neogra profile image

      Marla J Neogra 

      6 years ago from Parkersburg, West Virginia

      Thanks! I am also unemployed. Have not done as much as you, but have definitely relaxed and prioritized my time. Great suggestions.

      Congrats on the Hub nuggets inclusion! I voted this up.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is a perfect example of how one can shift perspective and thus be able to act positively! Loved it!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Join the Hubnuggets team in a happy hubnuggets valentines celebration! read and vote okay...

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 

      6 years ago from London

      Thanks for sharing this perspective and your tips on how to combat the annoyance of being in between things.

    • AnnaCia profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. Being creative and managing your time when you do not work outside of your home do to unemployment of disability is imperative.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Welcome to HubPages, and congratulations on your HubNugget nomination! A well-deserved one at that. This is great advice.


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