|A good career choice combines your skills,|
and passionate interests with your core values.
by Michael Corthell
Everyone wants to find purpose or meaning in their career but how do you do that? What practical steps can you take today to make sure that you're not just sweating away at a job that's meaningless for you? Why not do something that you genuinely care about?
''We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.''
—Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
A great job and career is part of the pursuit of happiness but, the idea of finding a great job that is fulfilling is believed by many to be only for the lucky few born with extraordinary talent, wealth or an unusual drive to succeed. Hey, there is no reason why these two aspects of life should be mutually exclusive for anyone. Meaningful work (and being happy at work) is not just possible, it is your right to find it.
Let's find out how.
Work & Career Goals
If you want to be more productive at work…
- Schedule out your day, setting mini goals and milestones throughout the day. Then race against your self-set goals for accomplishing tasks.
- Take a break every hour. Stand up, stretch, use the restroom or get a drink.
- Schedule your toughest task for your most productive time slot (whenever you typically feel your best) of the day.
- Arrive at work fifteen minutes before you are expected each morning.
- Sequester yourself for 45 minutes each day where you can crank uninterrupted on tasks. Consider booking a conference room or putting on noise cancelling earphones and posting a “do not disturb” sign during this time each day.
- Turn off your email for an hour everyday.
- Disconnect from social media for parts of the day.
If you want to advance quickly in your career…
- Be sure to speak up at least once in every meeting. You need to be noticed and heard.
- Show up at the office. Beware of work-from-home arrangements unless you are established in your company. If you are not seen in the office and people don’t know what you are contributing, you run the risk of getting let go (or passed over for promotions.)
- Rehearse presentations in the mirror beforehand. You should also rehearse important statements and arguments ahead of time so you can work out the kinks.
- Dress one step classier than your coworkers.
If you want to start your own business…
- Invest 15 minutes a day on building a portfolio of work samples.
- Carry business cards with you everywhere.
- Introduce yourself to someone new each day. Networking requires meeting a lot of people. Keep an eye out for potentially important connections. Look for potential clients, coworkers, inspiration, resources and financial partners.
- Review your business plan every night before bed.
- Spend 15 minutes each day learning about the business (reading a book, participating on an online forum, or listening to a webinar.)
- Devote 15 minutes each morning to one action item that moves your business forward (write a blog post, comment on a forum, return a phone call, make one cold call.)
If you want to learn new material…
- Read out loud.
- Record yourself reading key points (you need to memorize) out loud. Replay the recording as you rest in bed, right before falling asleep.
- Underline or highlight important information.
- Chew mint gum while you study.
- Pinch yourself or hold a bag of ice cubes while memorizing difficult formulas. The physical sensations will stimulate adrenaline production, locking the formula into your memory.
- Create a poem or song to memorize tough material.
- Use pictures (images, drawings, colors) to link definitions to new vocabulary words. For example, draw a picture that symbolizes a definition.
If you want to write a book/poetry collection/screenplay…
- Write 500 words before you go to work every morning.
- Check in with a writing buddy after you finish your morning writing (send your work for critique or just check in as accountability.)
- Read 15 minutes before bed each night (something in your genre.)
- Devote half of your lunch break to editing your work.
If you want to explore your artistic side…
- Spend ten minutes a day reviewing artistic work that inspires you.
- Keep a journal with you. Make notes of colors, images and textures that catch your eye.
- Use your camera (phone.) Snap pictures of anything you come across during the day that inspires you.
- De-stress each night by working on your most recent art project for a chunk of time before bed.
- Rummage through your art supply box each day.
- Play or listen to music.
- Watch a YouTube video about your field of art.
If you want to be on time…
- Schedule out your entire day, working backwards from appointments.
- Leave fifteen minutes before you think you need to for driving appointments.
- Leave five minutes before you think you need to for in-office appointments.
- Schedule in time for bathroom breaks, talking, coffee breaks, and distractions.
- Sandbag (build in time cushions for all estimates)
- Program your phone to give you reminders.
- Map out alternate routes to places you often frequent (to deal with traffic.)
If you want to be more organized…
- Recycle, shred or throw away junk mail on your way back from the mailbox. Don't let junk mail (or stupid offers you know you won't use) even touch the counter.
- Pay bills the same day you get them.
- File paid bills immediately after you pay them.
- Return items to their proper places immediately. Tell yourself counter space is sacred space that is not to be defiled.
- Recycle, repurpose, give away or throw away one item every day (until you don’t have any extra clutter left!)
If you want to improve in multiple areas at once…
- Walk (or complete some form of exercise) for 30 minutes a day. A daily walk will improve your mood, increase your energy level and will help you manage stress, stay fit and lose weight.
- (Become a VEGAN) Replace one main meal per day with a salad or broth-based vegetable or lentil soup. By eating several servings of vegetables per day, you will feel more energetic, lose weight, feel fuller and lower your chances of contracting cancer and many other diseases.
- Schedule at least eight hours (possibly nine – find out what you need) of sleep per night. Getting adequate sleep will improve your mood, give you more energy, make it easier to absorb new material, help you make healthier eating choices and improve your work performance.
Five Awesome TED Talks for Confidence and Motivation
''The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion'' by Kristin Neff