How to Stay Productive during Unemployment

When you’re not getting paid, it can be hard to muster motivation on your own. Where you used to be motivated by your 9-to-5 and your small amount of time at home in the evenings, now your whole day is open, but it feels hard to get anything done. You’ve got a case of unemployment lethargy.

Maintaining work ethic in unemployment is challenging but important, so we’re presenting the WorkFaith Birmingham official guide to staying productive.

Prepare for Procrastination Temptation

There will come a time during your unemployment that you’re tempted to watch just one more episode, or wake up just one hour later, or just put off applying for jobs one more day. We’ve all been there… what you meant to be just one small period of time turns into weeks or months, and suddenly, you never did the thing you really wanted to get done.


Prepare yourself for the voice of procrastination and come up with a plan to overcome it. It’s important to keep your momentum going, so don’t give up!

Schedule Everything

The great thing about a full-time job is the rhythm. Humans are hardwired to need rhythms, so when your rhythm gets disrupted, your life can seem chaotic. While unemployment doesn’t have a set time structure for anything, that doesn’t mean you can’t make one for yourself.

Schedule everything that you want to get done, including spending time with family and time to rest, if you need the reminder. This will help you budget your time wisely so nothing goes ignored.

Reward Yourself for Hard Work

Unemployment has a way of getting us down on ourselves. With so much free time and so many unknowns, it’s easy to try to push ourselves as hard as possible, only to get disappointed when our goals don’t match up with reality.

Take time to reward yourself for the hard work you do accomplish. If you need to, set up a reward structure for each major milestone you hit, such as treating yourself to a coffee from a cafe for landing a first-round interview. These rewards will incentivize you to work towards your goals, little by little.

Rest and Be Kind to Yourself

It’s hard to find a true upside to unemployment, but make an effort to enjoy the time off that this period of time brings. Once you have your next job, you’ll miss having the free time you have now. Keep this in mind when you just want to waste the day away. 

Each day of unemployment is an opportunity for new jobs, for learning something new, or for doing something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. Make a little time every day to do something you want to do, and forgive yourself when you’re a little lazier than you’d prefer.

Unemployment doesn’t have to be such a disheartening experience. If you overwork yourself, you will be just as unhappy as you would have been if you had wasted every day. Stay productive using our tips, and you’ll be on your way to finding your unemployment workflow.
For more help on getting through unemployment, check out our workshops. We offer workshops on career building, and it may be exactly what you need to land your next job.