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8 Ways to Recharge a Tired Old Job

8 Ways to Recharge a Tired Old Job

    There’s been speculation that as the economy recovers, many people who’ve been stuck in their jobs and unable to find new ones, will suddenly pick up and move to greener pastures. In contrast there are also predictions of a “jobless recovery,” which may mean being stuck in a lackluster job longer than these people (or maybe you) expected or would prefer. If that scenario plays out, it’s vital to recharge while still in your current job. Both near-term success and preparing for future successful moves make this essential.

    Having been in one company for way longer than I ever expected, I had to reinvent myself multiple times to stay sane, productive, and continue to grow personally and professionally. These 8 strategies can help you recharge your job if you feel you’re getting stale:

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    1. Document the lessons you’ve learned.

    Having been around the block a few times at your job you’ll have learned many lessons about what works and doesn’t in your profession, your company, and your industry. Thinking back on the strategic lessons you’ve learned provides an opportunity to start a blog, do presentations, record a podcast, or write an ebook. Sharing your knowledge in this way can build your stature with a broader audience to help pave the way for your next career move.

    2. Reuse, recycle, and revamp.

    If you’ve been a student of what you do, you should know a variety of techniques, models, and strategies that make you more effective. Having previously worked through them to understand what and how they deliver results, you’re in a unique position to begin tweaking them more aggressively. Rather than being stuck doing things one way over and over, you can modify certain elements to test for improved performance in subsequent uses.

    3. Simplify business models, processes, or messages.

    Mark Twain had a famous quote apologizing for the long length of a letter, mentioning he didn’t have the time to make it shorter. Most of us face the same challenge – it takes time to simplify things. Having been in your job for some time however, you’re in the perfect position to bring simplicity to your job and what your company does. Every business can use more simplicity. Take advantage of your tenure to create greater value by being the person who has the experience to make things easy, clear, and free of unnecessary detail.

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    4. Devote yourself to new learning.

    Smart kids who are bored with school get into trouble when they aren’t challenged. Same thing happens in careers, too. The difference is in a work setting, you typically have to find ways to challenge yourself. If your mental energies aren’t fully engaged currently, get yourself going mentally with additional reading, training, or just plain experimenting with new techniques in your chosen field. You’ll become even more valuable in today’s job and whatever lies ahead for you.

    5. Become a mentor.

    What better way to take advantage of expertise you’ve developed from having been in one place for a while than by sharing it with others in your company? It’s not only beneficial for another person; mentoring pays dividends for you as well. You’ll learn new angles on what you know through explaining it to someone else. You’ll increase the size of your “fan” base within the company. Ideally, you’ll also prepare someone to be your own replacement, helping free you for other opportunities inside your company should you elect to stay longer.

    6. Redesign your job.

    Use your knowledge and view of the business to identify areas where you can make a stronger contribution or fix problems that exist today. Document your thoughts and start introducing them to your boss toward redesigning your job. Just remember this: focus on the results and benefits you’ll deliver for the company, not on what’s frustrating you about your current position. Doing so will make your boss a lot more likely to hear you out and consider your proposal.

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    7. Find new ways to use your talents.

    If you’ve delivered results in your current job, you’re obviously known for the talents you possess. Build off that success to find new places to apply your talents inside your company. The key is to generalize what you do. For instance rather than thinking of yourself as a “finance person,” recast that as having “an aptitude for numbers and measurement.” All of a sudden, you might be able to look at a variety of metrics and monitoring-oriented positions such as project management, marketing analysis, call center management, etc.

    8. Be a bolder you.

    Early in a new job, you may feel pressured to dial back your personality to fit in. As you gain comfort, it’s time to introduce more of your personality into what you do. Are there talents, hobbies, or other passions you have which only get time and attention outside work? If so, look for ways to introduce those elements into your work. Maybe you’ve developed knowledge and experience in social media. Look for ways to bring that to your work setting to help drag your company into this century.

    Try these strategies while you’re seeking something better. You may improve your current gig so much that staying actually becomes viable!

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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