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Published on August 27, 2018

Tap Into Success on the Job with These Long Term Career Goals Tips

Tap Into Success on the Job with These Long Term Career Goals Tips

I’ve been very lucky in my career to have worked with some amazing people. People who built their careers on the back of hard work, passion and focus.

But the most successful of these people had something else. Hard work, passion and focus were there but to get to the very top you need more than just these things.

In this article, I will give you seven other traits so you can use to form your own career goals that will help you to build a successful career.

1. Know what you want.

This one might seem obvious, but many people never take the time to think carefully about what they want to do in their career. They accept jobs in industries or departments they have no interest in and soon find themselves settled into a career of misery and complaining.

It always amazes me how people spend more time planning their annual summer holiday than they do their career.

If you want to build success in your work, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to do and where you want to go. You need that North Star to guide you in your decisions and to keep you focused on where you are going.

Without that clarity, you will drift from one roll to another never building any momentum towards your ultimate career goal.

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2. Ask yourself: What skills are you lacking?

When we begin our working lives, we have the academic skills but lack many practical skills.

When you know what you want to do with your career, you can identify the skills you will need. Soft skills such as relationship building, the ability to collaborate with others and your productivity all form part of these skills and you need to make sure you are developing them.

Invest in yourself and for those skills that do not develop naturally, find the courses online or the books and study. Once you have studied these skills, make sure you put them into practice. This one tip will put you ahead of 98% of your colleagues who treat their work as just a job that pays them money to live.

3. Know that success leaves a path.

I teach this one to all of my clients. In every industry, there are examples of people who started at the bottom and worked their way up to become industry leaders. Examples like Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Jony Ive at Apple. These people were not founders or entrepreneurs, they worked their way up to the top from the bottom. In doing so, they left clues.

Whatever company you are in there will be people who began at the bottom and worked their way up to become leaders. How did they do that? What books did they read? What courses did they take?

I remember when I worked in the hotel industry. One of my mentors began as a receptionist. Louise rose to become the General Manager of my home city’s top hotel. She did this through having a clear goal, diligence and always putting the guest first. She was tough but fair.

I learnt from Louise that every time you come into work, the guest was always the top priority and to always be respectful of your colleagues.

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Find that one person in your industry that rose from the bottom and work out the path they took to get to where you want to be in the future. Then map out your own path that reflects the path already taken to the top.

4. Watercooler gossiping will not help your career.

I know it is always tempting to be the popular one in your office. To be the one everyone wants to hang out with and the one to go to when there’s some gossip to share. Don’t get involved.

Being the ‘office gossip” will sink your career faster than anything else. If you are serious about building a successful career, you do not have time to get involved in all this gossiping, complaining and time wasting.

You don’t have to ignore your colleagues, but never indulge them by listening to the gossip. Make your excuses and get back to work. This one tip will safeguard your career more than any other tip.

5. When at work, work.

Your workplace is not a social club. It is a place to do the work you were employed to do.

Of course being polite and friendly towards your colleagues is important, but never forget you are there to do work. Do it. Avoid getting yourself drawn into long conversations about last night’s episode of Elementary or your local football team’s performance.

There is a time and place for these conversations, but it is not on company time. When at work, do your work. Lunchtimes and after work is the right time to discuss the sporting prowess of your team’s star striker.

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6. Have a ‘how can I do it better?’ mindset.

One of the qualities I have seen in all successful career builders is they have a ‘how can I do it better?’ mindset. They are always asking themselves how they can do their work better, or how could they have solved that problem better.

It is a mindset of continuous self-improvement and it is a practice that can catapult you to the top faster than anything else.

Look for parts of your work that is duplicated and figure out ways to reduce the duplication.

Often new working practices are welded on to old working practices and this leads to inefficiencies and duplication. Find those inefficiencies and develop better ways of doing that work. This habit is always appreciated by your bosses and tells them you are serious about your work.

7. Model the behaviors of the most successful person in your industry.

This one was the best tip I was ever given when I began my career. Find the person at the top and work out how they got there. This does not necessarily mean the person at the top of your company, it means the person at the top of your industry.

If you are an architect, find out how Sir Frank Foster built his career. If you are a writer, find out how Stephen King built his career.

These people have shown you how to do it, and they left clues. Read everything you can about them, learn from them and model their work habits.

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Modelling does not mean copying. It means taking the traits they used and adapting them to work best for you.

My legal hero was a British lawyer, George Carmen QC. When I began my legal career, I read everything I could about George Carmen QC. I learned that the key skill that led to his success was his ability to communicate with juries. He was a brilliant communicator and I realized the one skill I could learn that would have a huge impact on my career was the ability to communicate with people.

While I did not ultimately follow a legal career, that skill of being good at communicating has served me well in all the industries I have worked in.

Whatever career path you are following, these tips will serve you well. Creating clear goals around them will give you the advantages you need to build a wildly successful career. They are tested, they work and all you need to do is to adapt them so they work for you.

Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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Carl Pullein

Carl helps people all over the world to achieve their maximum potential by becoming better organised and more productive.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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