Most people serious about their career have at least a vague career plan covering the next five years. Achieving your goals starts with the small things. Adopting positive daily habits will help to make that career progression much easier.
Plan and prioritise : Create a daily plan that includes one thing every day that moves you towards your long-term career goal. Connect with employees who work at the companies you want to work in, for example, or a specialist recruiter who can advise you on where you need more skills or experience for your ideal job. By the end of one month, you'll have a series of clear, meaningful steps towards your goal.
Don’t procrastinate : If there are difficult tasks you need to complete, move them to the top of your list. By getting into the habit of completing them quickly, you’ll be able to move on to the more motivational, enjoyable aspects of your day. Don’t sit staring at a blank screen. As international business coach Lisa Larter says ‘motion creates e-motion’. Make your list achievable, tackle the most difficult task first and if you’re in need of a strategy or book to help you on the way I recommend 'Eat That Frog' by Brian Tracy.
Update your industry knowledge : Keeping on top of your relevant industry trends will help you to stay ahead of latest developments and demonstrate insight to your employer. Subscribe to relevant websites, join (and participate in) LinkedIn groups, get to know what’s happening and who the influencers in your sector are.
Don’t get distracted by the trivial : Don’t get caught up in e-mail or distracted by Facebook timeline posts that prevent you from achieving your daily goals. If the temptation of the latest update or message is too much to resist, install a software programme such as Freedom which blocks your internet access for a specific amount of time – ideal for professionals who are work remotely and are prone to distraction (I’m speaking from personal experience here).
Adopt a positive attitude : Your working day will live up to your expectations, whether they are positive or negative. You get to choose what type of day you’re going to have. Decide that it’s going to be a good one, regardless of setbacks, challenges or co-workers you don’t get along with. Treat every setback or negative experience as a learning opportunity.
Talk to your mentors : Create your own support network or team of mentors who you share your long-term career goals with. When you encounter a temporary setback or struggle to meet a deadline, your network will advise and encourage you. Choose an accountability partner who is serious about their career or a coach who will help you to overcome setbacks.
Avoid negative conversations : Don’t get lured into negative conversations with colleagues who are unhappy with the boss, the company or life in general. Allowing their negative energy to permeate your work - and head - space will distract you from your daily goals. Excuse yourself and end the conversation on a positive note.
Get some exercise : The positive psychological benefits of exercise are widely known, especially for overcoming that lethargic feeling after a long day at the office. If you don’t work for the growing number of employers who offer nap rooms for their employees, try and get some form of exercise every day. Even a walk at lunchtime will enable you to clear your mind and refocus on the afternoon ahead.
Assess your progress : At the end of each day (or week), review what you have achieved against your original plan. If there are outstanding items on your list evaluate the reasons why. Are you trying to pack too much into your daily schedule? Were you distracted from your list? No matter how eager you are to achieve, your daily goals have to be realistic. Use the SMART acronym to set them (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).
Express gratitude : Keep a journal and record three things every day for which you are grateful. It will maintain your focus while also helping to eliminate any random, negative thoughts - we all get them. Concentrating on the positive things in life will enable your expectations to remain high.
What positive habits do you recommend to help move your career forward? Leave a comment below.
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With 18 years of experience in in recruitment, Kate Smedley offers a range of talent solutions for employers and careers advice for professionals.