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Complacency: The Art of Career Self-Sabotage

Complacency: The Art of Career Self-Sabotage

It seems to come out of nowhere. Boom. Blindsided. That’s complacency. It’s career suicide. Sounds harsh, I know, but the job market is highly competitive and companies are under pressure to grow in a time of uncertainty.  They are looking for employees to add value each and every day.  In a perfect world, leaders would be phenomenal mentors guiding your career development. We don’t live in a perfect world. Although there are some truly outstanding bosses out there, that doesn’t always equal a great career mentor.

The reality is you own your career. You know yourself better than anyone else so why leave something so important in the hands of others?

Being complacent can derail your career rather quickly.  You have enough to worry in life so don’t use complacency as a means to self-sabotage.

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Here’s 8 quick tips to keep you on track:

1. Be the problem solver

Revolutionary ideas are seldom born from the status quo. Problem solving is the essence of a visionary employee. Bosses love problem solvers. It makes their life easier. And, being viewed as a problem solver can accelerate your career; they are in high demand.

2. Don’t be satisfied

Having healthy discontent is good.  Being comfortable is being stagnant and being stagnant doesn’t add daily value.  Accomplishments and success are driven by discontent.  Use the power of dissatisfaction wisely.

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3. Build your network

Build your network now.  Build it before you need to use it. You will use your network for mentors, for expertise you are lacking, and if you ever need to find a job.  Building a strategic network takes time so it’s best to devote proper time to do this.

4. Be engaged

Your best work will be performed when you are engaged. Highly engaged employees have focus, energy, and are driven for results. You’ll also experience a deeper connection to the company and to your co-workers when you have a sense of engagement.   Engagement and innovation create high-performance results.

5. Keep exploring your passion

A passion felt at age 22 may not be the passion felt at age 32.  Life changes and life transforms.  It is important to conduct regular reevaluations of your goals and visions.  Once you have your goals clarified, ask yourself how passionate you are about your goals.  If you are going to be successful in meeting your goals, you will not be able to do it without passion.

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6.    Know your personal brand and personal identity

Jobs come and go but you need to live with yourself 24 hours a day.  Be sure you like the person you have become or you won’t be very happy with the results.

7. Professional development

Don’t be left behind. It is crucial to keep up with industry knowledge and technology trends.  Become the subject matter expert in your field.  This means people will need you instead of you needing them.  That’s the best way to own your career.

8. Take your vacation

Sounds like a no-brainer but it’s not.  You will never be at your best if you are tired, run down, or just mentally drained.  You will always be dragging your butt instead of leading the way.

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“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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