Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!

March 8th, 2007

Where's Your Honey Do List?  I know you have one...Last week I encouraged you to get your Chicken List out and make a call. Just work through it.

That encouragement does not tranfer over to the Honey-Do list.

A job search is more than a full-time job. You almost have to create the wheel (well, unless you use JibberJobber), and reach deep inside to do stuff you haven’t had to do for a long time (create a resume, create elevator pitches, etc.). Its hard to change your mindset from “sell my company’s product” to “sell myself.” And then on top of all of this – you are the one that has to execute the strategy! Its a HUGE job!

So why in the world do you think that you can knock things off the Honey-Do list? I know, you are now “working from home.” And you “have time.” And you “need a break” from the job search.

I know you have a hole in the wall. I know your toilet needs some work. I know you should really paint, or weed, or change wallpaper, or shampoo the carpets so you can have a better work environment.

But none of those things are really going to get you closer to getting your next job. Or next client.

So put the Honey-Do list away until Saturday. Pretend that your new job (that is, the job of finding a job) has you tied up from early in the morning until dinner time – and stop fooling yourself that doing Honey-Do’s right now is a good use of your time.

It isn’t.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to be sexist, or offensive – change the name of the list if you want. This post is not intended just for those in a job search – you know you have some kind of list that distracts you from doing important stuff. If you don’t have a “honey,” I bet you still have your own “to do” list. Same thing. And finally, this is not a ticket to not do anything ;)… I’m just saying, there are some things that are not as high a priority as working on your job search (or career management, or small business development, or your job – even if you are underemployed!).


11 responses to “Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!”

  1. Hahaha… I’m back! I like the name of the list… I give my wife stuff for one all the time. 😛

  2. Christie says:

    A break from a job search should only be after you landed the job! Its all work…then time for honey-do’s.



  3. Mark Newman says:

    Ahh the good old Chicken List – whether it be girls/boys in high school, sales prospects, or job search there is always a chicken list.


  4. Deb Dib says:

    Great post, as usual, Jason. You always manage to hit a nerve–and that’s good. You shine a light on what people don’t want to admit.

    Stalling by making busy work is SO prevalent in job search. And it doesn’t have to be the “honey do” list either. People get stalled doing things that make them feel productive, but that gain them little in the way of results—they’ll do easy networking rather than work their “chicken list,” or they’ll endlessly surf job boards, or “fine tune” a resume that should have gone out weeks before. In fact the list of job search “busy work” is endless. I always call it “low-effort, low-ROI” activity.

    Job seekers use the “tweak the resume” stall-tactic a lot–makes ’em feel like they are giving themselves the best shot, when it is really disguising a deep fear of getting out there and making something happen. Best way to stop it is to acknowledge it–and you’ve helped with your post!

    I always encourage my clients to treat their job search the same way they would treat a high-priority project at work. Shift the paradigm and use the same techniques for “Company You.” Scope out the project; strategize a plan; determine tactics, resources, and players; and then make it happen, every day.

    Just as in a mission-critical corporate initiative, failure is not an option, and momentum, timelines, milestones, and budgets count. Job seekers need to work it until it works and they’re working!

  5. Ernie Perez says:

    Great topic. It is so easynot to get dressed, have cofffee, read the paper, knock off a few chores, go grocery shopping, check emails — and the day is gone. For anyone interested, i have an Weekly planner/Organizer focused on a 40 hour week getting a job.

  6. Jason says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments! Deb has a great post spawned from this one at CareerHub.

  7. Another reality check from Jason – great job! A job search is a full time job. Keep adding value to your network; make deposits after you land so it is not so painful next time you are in a position to ask for help again…

  8. […] Last year when I got laid off I neglected a number of things. I thought I’d put together a list of things that I regret neglecting, and hope that it helps you. I still stand by my March 8th post Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List! where I talk about not hiding behind projects while you ignore things you need to do in your job search. That post was about non-essential projects – this post is about things that, if neglected, will have profound consequences. […]

  9. […] One of the veteran transition guys there said he took one week, got rid of all distractions, and hasn’t allowed “distractions” to be an excuse anymore. I guess I’m cool with that. If your distractions are that bad, dedicate a reasonable amount of time and get them out of the way – at least the important ones. But man, then you have to buckle down and get to work!! I’ve blogged on this here, Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List! (make sure to read the comments). […]

  10. […] the Chicken List (that list of people you are too scared to call) plenty of times… here and here and here and here and here.  I get it, I really do. I’m afraid of the phone, too. […]

  11. […] list, which still scares me, and had been consumed by the idea of wasting time in a job search.  Here’s a post I wrote in March of 2007 about making sure your honey-do list doesn’t take time away from what […]