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Go MAD for A Day! The 5 Minute Career Coach April 2012 Update
April 15, 2012

Helping Career Changers Around The World

April 2012 Update


Go MAD for the day!

You know I recommended the book Creativity Now! by Jurgen Wolff in the last edition of the 5 Minute Career Coach? Well I have been browsing through it again and decided I would share one of his great tips because it is very relevant to you as a career changer.

Jurgen recommends going MAD for a day!

OK, don't panic – you are not required to run down the street screaming, it is much more productive than that.

In this context, MAD stands for a Massive Action Day.

I am sure that you, like many of us, lead what feels like an incredibly busy life and you are constantly juggling a range of demands both within your job and in your wider life. That's reality for most of us and being able to juggle and multi-task is an absolute necessity in modern life.

But the downside it that I imagine sometimes you end up feeling like Jack-of-All-Trades but Master of None. When your attention is so fragmented, it can seem like you are working away on a range of projects – including your career change plans – but making little or no progress.

This is where going MAD for a day comes in.

focus your attentionPlan ahead to set a whole day aside to focus on one thing – and I recommend making it working on your career change. (Well, I would, wouldn't I?!)

OK, if a whole day is really impossible, then make it half a day!

Make sure you keep that day free of any work or social commitments.

As part of your preparation make a list of the books, files, phone numbers, websites you know you will need to work on your project so you can have then all to hand at the beginning of your MAD day.

Start the day by switching off your phone and email. This is ESSENTIAL! Set up auto replies if need be to let people know you will not be responding to their messages.

If you feel you really must leave your phone on, switch down the volume and only check it a couple of times during the day. If there are missed calls or messages, ask yourself 'will someone die if I do not respond to this call now?' If the answer is no, then do not respond.

It can wait.

Structure your day in clearly planned way as follows:

You will be working in 45 minute blocks – long enough to really crack on with something and not so long to get bogged down. Set a kitchen timer, or use on your computer. Best not to use your phone or you may be tempted to use it for other things!

After 45 minutes, take a 5 minute break. Get up and walk around, make a coffee, have a stretch and then settle back down for the next 45 minute slot.

After 3 blocks, take a longer break (15-20 mins) and have a light snack to eat. Then return for another three 45 minute blocks.

You'll be amazed how productive you can be with this kind of focused attention and you will make great strides with your project, whatever it is.

What could you be doing on a MAD day to help move your career change forward?

  • Work through some of the exercises on the How To Change Careers website eg

  • Where am I?
  • Skills review
  • Values
  • Personality

  • Brainstorm the experience you have gained over your career to date and decide which elements you want to stick with and which you will jettison.

  • Make a list of people you would like to talk to about their careers – people whose jobs sound like they might be of interest. Look up their phone number and or email and make contact with at least 3 to arrange to meet.

  • Take time to explore why you want to change career – list the positive reasons for change and the worries and concerns you have. Then take time to challenge the concerns – are they real? Are you making assumptions which may not really apply?

  • Create a vision board representing what you want your future working life to look like. Make it colourful and imaginative using images from magazines and anything else that inspires you

  • Work through one of the books you have bought on career change and do the exercises really thoughtfully. If you haven't got any books like this, take a look at my recommendations in back issues of the 5 Minute Career Coach or on the How To Change Careers website. Do this as part of your pre-planning so you have the book to hand for your Go MAD day.

  • If you are considering going back to study, browse college or university websites for details of courses that interest you – but take care on the internet. Watch you don't drift off to unrelated sites! Keep focused!

  • Work on your resume. Make sure it is up to date and that it is written with your new career in mind.

  • I am sure you can think of plenty more!

Is that enough to keep you going?

OK, so when are you going to go MAD for a day and really get cracking on your career change?

Make it soon!

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