career progress

We talk a lot about continuous self-improvement in relation to our careers, with good reason, we are recruiters here! Any improvements you make which can lead to career progress are good for both you and for us. Not to mention that you feel accomplished, more self-assured and confident in the activities that you participate in throughout your daily life. What are you doing on a daily basis that helps you improve for the future and assist in your career progress? Are there things that you are doing that inhibit self-improvement?

We are often doing little things that can benefit or inhibit our self-improvement. Some of them may be obvious, while others may not be but, in many cases there are small habits that inhibit our forward progression both in and out of the office. Some of the more common inhibitors that prevent us from gaining forward momentum can be changed through little things we do in our everyday lives. These 8 habits may seem menial, but can have a large effect on your career.

Sleep – We love it but, we often do not allow ourselves to actually get enough. If it really is something we love, want and need, why are we not making the effort to go to bed earlier and get the amount of sleep we actually need? Being tired prevents us from getting done what we really need to get done in a timely manner; not to mention quality issues, as well as affecting our general attitude and mood we are in.

  • Instead of watching that extra episode on Netflix, wait to watch it another day (it is probably not going to disappear from your que overnight).
  • Get your phone or tablet away from your bed, turn off the TV and/or computer. Whether you want to believe it or not, the light does affect your sleep, and the noises or vibrations from your mobile devices will as well.
  • With proper rest you will be refreshed, clear headed and ready for what the next day will bring.

Reading – Hey, we get it, reading is not everyone’s thing; however, IT IS good for us. It stimulates our minds and opens us up to new information. Learning new things and staying up to date on what is happening in the world, your industry, your interests, etc. will only benefit you in the long run.

  • Introduce yourself to new and different types of information outside of your niche; it might just help you communicate and come up with better ideas as a result.
  • Read from a variety of mediums; blogs, papers, books, magazines, websites etc. to have a diverse yet well-rounded knowledge base.

Speaking up and asking questions – Much like reading, this is a quest for more knowledge. Our desire to contribute and drive to learn and grow are shown when we participate in the conversations around us. Quick tip, if you cannot contribute ask more questions.

  • Questions you ask should be well thought out and not asked just for the sake of asking. They should provide value to you and those around you.
  • Most people would rather answer a question than have to make up for or correct the mistakes made by those who do not.
  • If you cannot contribute with your own perspective, become an advocate for other people’s point of view in order to contribute to the conversation.

NOT Saying “no” – Saying “yes” is often a good thing to do. It is good to show incentive, to want to take on additional projects or help others, when you CAN. Being able to take on additional projects without becoming overburdened is the key. Always saying yes can weigh you down and not allow you to focus on the things that really need to do.

  • “No” can be a difficult thing to implement into your “work” vocabulary, but there are times when it is necessary to say no. Saying no does not mean that you are being insubordinate or that you are a poor worker or contributing team member.
  • Try not to stretch yourself to thin by taking on too many additional projects or helping others and neglecting your work. You have your own responsibilities, therefore, make sure your priorities are in check.

Procrastinating – We have all been there at some point, where we are just not motivated and put off various things for one reason or another. You know the tasks that you need to accomplish so finish your lists, or start to make them in the first place to help prioritize and organize the various tasks you have to complete.

  • A little daily or weekly planning and prioritization can go a long way in your effort to stop procrastinating. This way you have can actively committing to the work you need to accomplish as well as judge your progress towards reaching your goal.

Seek out leadership roles – Find where a leader is needed and take the initiative to become the leader that is needed. This does not mean that you have to search out the newest or biggest project and try to lead that, although that is an option, it can be small tasks or volunteering your time somewhere. They key is finding opportunities that give you more experience and possibility for growth.

  • Take the lead on a project if you can, or head a team meeting.
  • Welcome the challenge if it is something you can accomplish. Start small and work to larger things as your comfort as a leader increases.
  • Growth and leadership will most likely not just fall into your lap. You will have to take some initiative for it to happen.

Take a break – It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind as projects come in. As that stack of paper work keeps getting larger, meetings add up too. It is important for you to re-energize in order to regain your focus and not burn yourself out. Working through lunch occasionally probably won’t hurt you but when you are burnt out and not focused, you probably are not getting the quality you need out of your efforts anyway.

  • Take a lunch break to re-energize and re-focus.
  • A quick break where you can take a walk or at least step away for a few minutes can get you thinking again and able to accomplish the work ahead of you.

Improve office relationships – become an active member of your team, interact with and help others. These are the people you see most often outside of your home, you spend on average 8 hours a day with them, probably 5 days a week. Having a good relationship with the people you work with will make your life a lot easier. You do not have to be best friends with them, but you need to be able to work together and be around them quite a bit. Having a sense of community and support in the office can really help you out when things are tough.

  • Find ways to improve communication with the people in your office.
  • Go out to lunch with other people in your office if you can, or go out after work for a little while.
  • Open up in these situations a little bit and find some common ground with your co-workers.
  • Try to avoid the office gossip, be part of the solution to problems not an instigator.