7 Simple Tweaks That Can Change Your Career & Improve Your Life
Even as you're hustling at work, you can sometimes feel like you've hit a wall in terms of growing or learning. But there are simple tweaks that can change your career — whether it's doing a better job motivating yourself, tapping into your network for opportunities, or figuring out what your procrastination weak spots are. No matter how much of a hustler you are, everyone can always benefit from a tune up, and it never hurts to learn new ways to keep yourself on track and heading towards your goals. Whether those are to move higher up in the company, earn more money, or gain more recognition.
Just small changes like those can do wonders when it comes to how you approach your work. When thinking of refreshing your career life, it can feel like a giant undertaking. But you can always do minor tweaks here and there that will pay off big time in the long run and keep you focused.
If you feel like you can use a little help in the career department, look no further. Below are seven small tweaks you can do that will change your career — prepare to be motivated.
1. Figure Out When Your Most Productive & Motivated Times Are
Everyone has a moment in the day where they feel like they can take a solid bite out of their to-do list and keep going. For me, it's first thing in the morning. For you, it might be after lunch or a little further into the morning. Figure out what those go-get-em times are and then do your most important and hardest tasks during that time. You'll feel extra motivated and in the zone during those times, and get them done well.
Lifestyle writer Kelly Gurnett at career-improvement site Levo suggested, "Learn when your most productive times of day are, and try to structure your projects accordingly. Energy management works wonders by tapping into your natural rhythms and using them to the fullest." So save that project not for the end of the day, but for that most productive time.
2. Create Weekly Achievements You Have To Reach
We all have long term goals, but what are you doing to get there? In order to keep you focused and always hustling, create weekly goals that will continue to propel you towards the finish line. That way, you'll never have a moment where you look back on your calendar and notice you were just doing housekeeping work and not actually growing or developing.
Career development writer Zahra Barnes at Levo said, "To keep yourself on track, create one measurable achievement you should reach every week, whether it’s setting up an informational interview, joining a new networking group, or pitching a brilliant project to your boss." This way you'll always be working towards the bigger picture.
3. Create A Ta-Da List
In order to keep yourself motivated, you have to give yourself a pat on the back. You can't just power through tasks and not take a moment to appreciate how badass you've been all month. In order to feel the glow from your successes and fire up your motivation, create a "ta-da" list at the end of each day, meaning write out all the awesome things you accomplished and how they'll help your goals.
Barnes said, "Creating a ta-da list at the end of the day can be so crucial. Looking over everything you finished can inspire a source of pride, which may be enough to stoke the flames of your motivation." So go ahead, toot your own horn. You deserve it.
4. Tap Into Your Network
Your network isn't just a Twitter feed of names or an email list of random contacts; it's your ticket to better places, and you need to nurture it to make it work for you. Make sure you're regularly keeping in touch with the people you hope will one day help you with your career. Don't only touch base with people when you need something — be genuine and make real connections that will run both ways.
Gurnett advised, "Send out a quick email with some updates on what you’ve been up to, and ask about what’s been going on at their end. Keep it friendly, breezy and non-salesy. Arrange for a coffee chat to catch up. (Coffee’s on you, of course.) And make a note on your calendar to re-connect after a set amount of time to keep the relationship fresh." If you create a real relationship with your contacts, the chances of getting help or advise when you need it is tenfold.
5. Refresh Your Goals
It's easy to get wrapped up in the everyday of your job, but don't forget to work on your long-term goals, too. Every month or so, regroup and see what exactly you're working for. Are you taking the steps you need to keep moving up, or are you getting comfortable and falling behind? Should you reach for bigger, harder things, or are you keeping a good pace?
Gurnett pointed out, "If you’re not where you want to be, figure out some action steps you can take to change that, and mark them down on your to-do list along with your regular daily projects. If you are, brainstorm ways to keep that momentum going, and set deadlines for those steps. In the end, the most organized career in the world won’t do much for you if you’re not heading in the right direction."
6. Treat Your Current Job Like A Promotion
Don't wait till you actually get that promotion to act like a boss lady — start acting like you already have it even as you're stuck in your old cubicle. You know the phrase "dress for the job you want, not the one you have." The same applies to your actions: Take on more responsibility without asking, fall into a leadership role when the situation allows it, and shoulder on extra projects that will help you prove your worth and learn something new about your trade and job.
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer told Fortune magazine, "Most people think of a career trajectory as a sloping line. Really, it’s a step function. When you’re ready to take the next step or take on more responsibility, you should start doing your job at the next level." You don't need an official promotion to start acting like a boss — prove that you should be working at the next level by working at the next level.
7. Know Your Procrastination Habits
Don't let yourself slide down the rabbit hole of procrastination and then, 30 minutes later, realize you're behind and your schedule is flipped on its head. To prevent this, know your procrastination habits, and nip them in the bud when you feel yourself sliding into them.
Lifestyle writer Kelsey Miller at Refinery29 said, "We all have different preferred methods of procrastination. Sometimes it's cleaning up the desktop, deleting junk email, or doing other work that's less of a pain than the work we're avoiding...If you identify your procrastination method, you'll be able to catch yourself doing it early (and have no option but to admit it)." Be honest — if you know opening up Pinterest "just for a minute" turns into 30 minutes decorating your dream apartment, don't let yourself open that browser.
Be strong, stay on task, and remember that nothing changes unless you changes something about yourself or something you're doing first.