You’re in-between jobs and you want to be productive in the meantime. Here are seven ways to keep yourself busy.

1. Go back to school. If you have always wanted to get an MBA degree or any other post-baccalaureate degree, now is the best time. Although there are people who can work and study at the same time, you will save yourself a lot of stress and pressure if you take the opportunity to focus on only one thing, for the moment. Enrolling in night school will give you flexibility to look for a job. However, expenses are an issue, so make sure you have things financially planned out before you attempt anything.

2. Get a short-term continuing education. Enroll in academic modules or attend seminars related to your field. For example, if you’re into sales, be on the lookout for seminars that teach you how to negotiate or how to handle sales objections. You don’t always have to spend just to build your skills. Search the net for free study modules. Be on the look out for free workshops in the newspapers. Check bulletin boards and announcements. You’ll be surprised at the wealth of educational events you can attend without having to compromise your financial situation.

3. Freelance. You don’t need to be employed to earn a living especially if you are in the service business like writing, graphic designing, interior decorating, etc. Freelancing is also one of the best ways to market yourself. When you do projects for a lot of people, you’ll widen your network of clients and possible future employers. Before advertising vacancies, people usually tend to hire people whom they are already acquainted with. If you are well-liked by the people you work with and you give good value for their money, you’ll be certain to get an interesting job offer when the right time comes.

4. Learn a new skill. Explore your talents and get into new interests. Play with your creativity. Learn how to make scented candles, teddy bears or do floral arrangements. The important thing is to spend your time productively and to have fun. Then, explore the possibility of going into business with your new skills. Some of the most successful ventures started out as hobbies. People who enjoy what they’re doing, or those who treat work like play tend to be good at what they do. Even if you find a job later on, you can still moonlight your new skills.

5. Engage in business. In a time of massive unemployment, one of the most sensible things to do is to get self-employed. It will help keep your abilities sharp while you’re job hunting. Do you have a family-business? Get involved. Visit trade and industry agencies, like the TLRC to inquire about loans or enrolling in cottage industry seminars. Consider joining a multi-level marketing company, especially if you’re into sales. If you do good and you end up making more income than you can possibly receive from a 9-5 job, that’s icing on the cake.

6. Volunteer. Spend some quality time with people who need it. Some people are usually filled with feelings of despondency when they leave a long-term job. This can be effectively dealt with by focusing on giving your time and talents to worthy causes. Be active in your local church. Get involved in community work. Join organizations with principles and causes you agree with. They may not be lucrative opportunities, but they will help you make new friends and hone your leadership skills. You might also discover some hidden talent since people tend to try new tasks in the absence of pressure.

7. Keep up a proactive job search. These days, it’s hard to find a job. More often, you might find yourself sending a lot of applications than you are receiving replies. If that happens, don’t despair. The best opportunities usually comes to those who make the biggest effort. Don’t tire in regularly sending applications and searching various mediums for job opportunities. Read the classified ads religiously. Search online recruitment sites. Build your portfolio and knock on company doors. You’ll never know when you’ll hit the mark.

The whole point is to make your idle time productive. Working hard, whether you’re in or out of a job will give you a sense of self-worth. Best of all, it opens up more doors and windows of opportunity when you plant the good seeds of hard work and taking the right attitude to your situation.