If you're not yet reaching your career goals, it may be time to make some changes.
Every now and then, it's good to take a step back and evaluate where you are in your professional and personal lives. Are you making progress at work? Do you feel overwhelmed by all that's on your plate? If you're not satisfied, it may be time to change things up. Here are five changes you can make that will help you grow to reach your professional and personal goals.
Improve Your Time Management
If you are the kind of person who feels as though there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, it may be time to reassess not only your schedule, but also your methodologies for allocating and managing your time. If you don't normally keep a schedule, it may be the time to start. Having a tangible reference for all of your appointments and meetings helps create structure and ensures that you won't miss something important. There are many smartphone, tablet, and computer applications to aid with this task — consider using a tool like Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal, to name a few. Folks who still defer to the pen-and-paper method may want to invest in a quality planner that is easy to carry around, elegant in nature, and affordable. Moleskine offers a fabulous line of streamlined, modern planners ranging in size, time range, and layout.
Organize Your Workspace
The saying rings true that there is a place for everything and everything has a place. While it may feel like you know where everything is in your office, having an aesthetically-pleasing, well-organized workspace will only serve to benefit you. It also shows your colleagues and clients that you are put-together and ready to work. Stores like Staples, Ikea, and The Container Store offer optimal, price-friendly organizational containers, as well as other aids including Post-Its, label makers, and dry-erase calendars. Bed Bath & Beyond is also good for the budget-conscious shopper — just sign up for their mailings and emails and you'll receive numerous coupons each month, many of which are accepted after their expiration dates have passed. If you're on a shoestring budget, look to your local thrift store, department store clearance sections, or opt to use the “shopping at home” route and repurpose already-owned items. If you need some inspiration, Pinterest is a fantastic outlet for finding visual representations of the organizational system you're looking to create.
Become Tech Savvy
When it comes to new technology, are you an early-adopter or do you tend to stick with what you already know? There are many apps and tools that can optimize your productivity levels in the workplace and beyond. Staying informed of both industry-specific and broad-based technological trends will ensure that you stay ahead of the curve in “working smarter, not harder.” Sites like Mashable, Product Hunt, and Boy Genius Report (BGR) are great places to discover the latest mobile apps, websites, and technology products. If technology is inherently a part of your career, try using it to your personal advantage to become more organized. If not, being ahead of the tech curve in general will place you a step ahead of coworkers and benefit your organization's daily functions.
Strive for Better Work-Life Balance
How well do you balance your work life with your personal life? If you think you're doing a solid job of it, you are ahead of many. But if you think this is an area that needs some work you are definitely not alone. Finding yourself wishing you had time to do the things you enjoy is a good sign that something needs to change, so rework your schedule and see when you are able to carve out some much-needed “me” time. Many professionals wake up early to squeeze in an early morning workout or use the morning bus or train commute to catch up on leisure reading.
The evening is also a great time to take a half-hour to visit the gym, catch up on grocery shopping for the family, indulge in TV binge-watching, or do pretty much anything that you enjoy and/or serves to benefit your family. If you find that your workplace is asking you to perform tasks and put in work hours that fall above and beyond the expectations set forth when you initially accepted the role, it may be time to have a crucial conversation with your supervisors and team members. If you're alright with the extra workload but want to work smarter, talk with your colleagues and managers about process improvement ideas that may allow for you to get more done in less time.
Update Your Professional Brand
This is a hard one for many folks, as updating resume and LinkedIn profile content is one of those “to-do” list items that professionals always intend to tackle, but ultimately place at the bottom of their priority lists. This is especially important though if you are in a role with a company where career advancement is a strong possibility. The good news, though, is that there are professional resume-writing experts available to help you! Hiring a professional resume writer to update the formatting, chronology, and verbiage of your existing personal branding materials will allow you to cross off an important “to-do” item. It will also ensure that should you suddenly choose to search for a new job, you'll be prepared and ready to go!
Time to make a change in your career? Get started today with a free resume review.