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How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction

How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction
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Designing your career can feel like an incredibly risky business. Having a good career coach by your side makes that challenge much more manageable. Whether you’ve ended up somewhere that feels like a dead end or you’re worried about the options ahead of you, taking the next step in your career is stressful.

Will you be able to handle a new position? What skills are you developing, and which are you neglecting? Which path is most viable, and which has the best financial incentive? A career coach won’t present you with the exact job opportunity you need at the right time, but they will help you answer all these questions, and more, that can help you create a roadmap for your future path.

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Why Each of Us Needs a Career Coach

A career coach is helpful for someone looking to make a major change[1] in field, position or goal. This person will discuss with you your personal life goals outside of your career, and then discuss with you which careers are compatible with those goals, and which will require compromise. They will evaluate your personality and skills in order to determine which position best aligns with your talents, as well as which will demand things of you that you wouldn’t be able to provide.

Your career coach can help you design a path [2] and an ultimate map for your future, including identifying what steps you will need to take to get there, what skills you will need to improve, what training or education you should seek and what industry you can consider. And although a career coach won’t hand select jobs to you, they will help you navigate through the job hunting process. Your coach can offer tips for getting through interviews, a keen eye to go over your cover letter, resume and applications, and advice on where to hunt for good positions.

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How Having a Coach Can Fast-Track Your Career Success

Making a major career change, whether it’s changing the role you take on or the industry you work in, can feel like an impossible struggle. Outside of college, you rarely get an easy opportunity to prepare yourself for entering an industry, which makes a mid-life change feel overwhelming. This is where a good career coach comes in. He can help you figure out how to make that transition between positions or industries, including learning what skills you can put forward, what you can do to improve your qualifications and where you can enter in the industry to begin your new path.

A career coach will not do your job search for you, will not personally network you into an industry and will not give you a magical leg up. If you aren’t trying to make a major career change, you likely don’t need their services – your own knowledge of the industry or position should be comparable to theirs, or a quick Google search about people in your field should answer your question.

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How to Find a Career Coach Who Caters to Your Need

Once you’ve decided you want to make a change and begin the hunt [3] for a career coach, you must be on alert for scammers. Plenty of people are trying to sell you promises they can’t keep. Avoid career coaches who seem to have a plan for you before you tell them about yourself, as well as coaches who have no references to give.

Try networking around for a career coach among friends and associates, searching for recommendations and previous experiences. Since there are no specific qualifications to make someone a career coach, it is important that you know someone’s reputation in order to consider them as a coach. Don’t call up the first person you find on Google – look for recommendations, reviews, honest opinions and feedback from your industry, community or connections. Look for news about your coach, their presence on social media and on the internet in general

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Your coach’s personality will play a major factor in how comfortable you are with them, so feel free to request an informal conversation or interview before committing to anyone, but a career coach’s time is valuable – payments can run up to $300 per hour – so most will likely not give you too much free time to talk about yourself before you’ll have to start paying.

Don’t expect face to face meetings with your coach – many prefer internet or phone conversations nowadays. This gives you more freedom, however, to find a coach that fits well with you and understands your goals. Finally, don’t expect the process of working with your coach to be quick. You shouldn’t expect your coach to place you in a new career in a few weeks – the average relationship lasts six months to a year. This is about redesigning your career. It takes time.

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Reference

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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