As a recent college graduate entering into the new year, and with the recent troubles of the economy, I figure now is an appropriate time to think about unemployment. Hunger is not the worst feature of unemployment; idleness is. William Barrett While many may consider joblessness a product of laziness and worthlessness believe it or not there are plenty of productive things to do without have a boss looming over your shoulders forty hours a week. Since I am unemployed myself, I saw a great personal benefit in creating a list like this. Some of these activities are things I am already taking part in, while others I wish to pursue in the near future. Hopefully this post can inspire others who are in a similar situation. Some of these recommendation are obvious as they directly involve searching for employment; others are non-job related, but productive tasks nonetheless; a special few may be considered riskier choices, but they could just as well lead you to more exciting endeavors. 1. Look through the local papers Obvious, but nonetheless my first choice. Reading your local paper gets you immediately in touch with your community. Not just the job section, but others too can keep you better update on nearby events, recent trends, social events, and other latest happenings. Face it, you dont want to spend your days just sitting in the house get out, get active, and start interacting and getting involved. 2. Start working out Most will admit that they do not focus on their health and fitness enough. Those who do often have a plethora of excuses, the most common being: I am just too busy with work. Now that we are unemployed, we really dont have any excuse not to put some time aside for physical activity. Even if it just doing push-ups and sit-ups in the morning, it makes a difference in the amount of energy you will have throughout the day. Not to mention, exercise is a great way to give your brain a rest from other daily mental stresses. So, dont be too hesitant to dust off that old treadmill or ask your bother to give back those dumbbells he borrowed a couple years ago. 3. Volunteer Children, seniors, and those with physical and mental handicaps these are all people who are all too often ignored. Even without a job your time can still be valuable to others, so why not invest it wisely and make a difference? Sure, volunteering at a church or an after school program isnt going to get you any closer to green (note: money), but it is something else to put on your resume. Employers certainly like people who volunteer it shows you are willing to provide for society and that you like to stay busy. 4. Practice an instrument Being able to play an instrument is always a great and rewarding skill. How many of us can attest to ever wanting to be a famous singer, rock star, rapper, or pianist? It is never too late to start doodling with music. Creativity is after-all a productive act, and it also serves as a great means of personal expression. I used to like playing on guitars and synthesizers, but since I have graduated I have made a switch over to electric bass. One of my neighbors likes similar music to me, and he also drums, so we have a great time just jamming out. I also firmly believe that there are great therapeutic benefits to making music or any kind of art, here is a short post I one time put together on art therapy and mental health. Who knows, maybe you can even make a career out of it one day? 5. Upload your resume to Monster.com If you arent yet familiar with Monster.com, it is a great website to help you find new jobs in your area. I just recently uploaded my resume and sent it out to a couple companies. Employers can also search and contact you. Since Monster.com is one of the 20 most visited websites on the net, this is probably your number one choice on places to network for building your career. There is a lot of helpful information, complete with customizable searches that distinguish between different educational backgrounds, years of experiences, desired salaries, as well as which industries and kinds of jobs you are interested in pursuing. 6. Start a blog OK, some may consider this a total time waster, but I have already made my case for why blogging is actually a very productive activity. It allows you to better organize your thoughts, exercise creativity, network with others, and learning from the expertise of other bloggers. 7. Go to school For those who have suffered for an extended period of time due to poor job opportunities and unemployment, it may be a good idea to consider furthering your education. Especially if you only have a high school degree or less, it is probably in your best interest to obtain a degree in a subject of your interest, something that will be beneficial towards a career you wish to pursue. This isnt to say that college is for everyone. I myself never wished to go to college, I mostly went due to peer pressure. However, those years turned out to be some of the most valuable years Ive ever spent. Because of this, I would recommend anyone to look into it as a viable option towards furthering your career or starting anew. 8. Meditate I try to recommend meditation even to those who have jobs, as it is an excellent way to manage stress and put our life into perspective. However, like many things, meditation is very often inconvenient to those who already live busy lives stuck in cubicles, while drinking Starbucks and typing up boring documents. Unemployment provides a great opportunity to get settled into a steady meditation schedule. It is best to start now while you have the time because once you do get a job itll be much easier to stick with the habit. Meditation has shown to provide tremendous benefits to both our physical and mental health. Get started today. I highly recommend these beginner videos for those who arent yet familiar with the practice. 9. Sell junk on Ebay Everyone knows about Ebay.com, the most popular website for online auctioning and bidding. During times while jobless, it is very likely that we may be experiencing financial hardships; therefore, it is a wise idea to go through our belongings, decide on what we really dont need, and then sell them for some extra cash. By doing this, we are also cleaning out space in our closets, making it easier to organize, and letting go of things from the past that dont really serve our interests anymore. 10. Go on a road trip For some who dont have immediate plans to enter the labor force, going on a road trip could become an enlightening experience. Imagine yourself heading across the country with no particular destination in mind. Imagine all the new people you would meet, all the crazy places you would stay at night, and all the neat skills and tricks-of-the-trade you would learn throughout your travels. Oh yeah, and getting friends to join you is an absolute must! 11. Read Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, reading preserves intelligence. Out of all the people I know no matter the age the ones who read on a consistent basis are distinguishably smarter than those who dont. Opening up a book and following a story keeps your mind active and sharp. Reading has been shown to increase attention and memory, as well as decrease the risk of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia that can be experienced later in age. The mind is just like a muscle in the sense that If you dont use it you lose it. 12. Get a makeover Sometimes there is nothing better to jump-start a new phase of your life then to get a makeover. Start by doing something different with your hair. Maybe if you are used to long hair you can switch over to something shorter, or even shave your head completely. Next you can move on to your clothes. Find someone with a keen sense for fashion and have them come shopping with you. Let them choose 3-5 outfits and then try them on. See what you like. See what makes you feel alive again. Experiment with different styles and dont be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. A good makeover can you give you a burst of inspiration. It can make you feel like a new person, and what better time to start fresh? Final Comments If you are unemployed then I encourage you to take these suggestions to heart. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to be productive and motivated then to simply call businesses you want to work for and try to schedule an interview. The key ideas are to get involved in your community, make steps in personal development that you dont normally have the time for, and stay active. You dont want to fall into the habit of spending seven days a week sitting on the couch, vegetating, and watching the latest episode of Jersey Shore make yourself valuable! To check out my blog click here.