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6 Tips To Prepare Us For Future Opportunities

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6 Tips To Prepare Us For Future Opportunities

Unique personal opportunities for career and personal advancement, in fields that we are interested in, are all around us.  Sometimes they don’t manifest as quickly as we would like.  However, we shouldn’t get discouraged, because there are some very specific things that we can do to prepare ourselves for future opportunities, and when they manifest, because of our preparation, we will be ready to provide immediate and significant value.

This article will give six tips that we can do right now to prepare ourselves for future opportunities. Even if we aren’t working in our dream job or business right now, if we do these things, opportunities will come into our life.  What we do after that is up to us.

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1. Stay informed about developments in our field.

We should stay informed about what’s going on in our field.  What are the trends?  Where are the opportunities right now? In a year? In five years? Developments will inform our education and networking efforts; however, if we aren’t aware of what is going on, then we may miss out on opportunities that will manifest for those people who are in the right place at the right time.  We can be that person by staying apprised of what is going on in the industry.

2. Build our platform / portfolio.

There are things that we can do right now in our chosen field to build our platform or portfolio, even if we think we aren’t working in our ideal setting.  Look for writing and speaking opportunities. Start a blog and create a meaningful contribution to the advancement of our field. Get involved with organizations, and research any volunteer or mentoring opportunities.  The more we do, the more that opportunities are likely to come our way.

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3. Make learning a habit.

Embrace the opportunity that we have right now to educate ourself in our field.  Make learning a habit. Schedule time for it daily, and stick to our plan.  How bad we want this opportunity will determine the priority that we place on our self-directed education.  Do we want it badly enough to forsake our regularly scheduled TV session tonight? The more we educate, the better prepared we will be to immediately contribute when we have the chance.

4. Establish positive relationships with people in our field

Network, network, network, but do it in an intelligent way.  Look to add value to people.  Find ways that we can be a benefit to those who we are looking to associate with.  People always make time for those who can add value in their life.  Be one of those types of people.  This is where having some form of positive contribution (like writing or blogging) can be a value entry into a new relationship.

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5.  Determine how we are going to create value

Ask ourself this question:  how I am going to create real value for others in my chosen field?  Take time to answer this question thoroughly.  Make a plan to create the value, and then begin at once to execute our plan.  The more value that we can create for others in our chosen field, the more successful we will be in our field, and the more opportunities that will continually come our way.

6.  Place ourselves where our heart wants to be.

We should consistently show up, that is, place ourselves, where our heart wants to be.  We say we want to be a writer?  Well, where is our writing?  Where is our book?  Where is our blog?  We don’t need someone’s permission to write; we simply need to write.  We say we want to be a business person?  Well, where is our business?  We don’t need someone’s permission to start a business; we just have to do it.  Are we interested in working in finance, in public relations, in healthcare, in a particular industry sector?  Then are we attending the important conferences and networking events in these areas?  Have we received the education that we need to actually contribute value in these areas? If not, why not?  If we truly want something, we will place ourselves where our heart wants to be.

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More by this author

Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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