New year, new you? Here are some practical tips to take your career to the next level, from jumping out of your comfort zone, to celebrating the success of others. 1. Forget ‘quiet quitting’ it will get you nowhere – put your hand up: Luck can only take you so far, playing it safe at work might seem like the easy on-trend option, but if professional development is on your agenda, then staying comfortable could prevent you from accomplishing great things. 2. Jump out of your comfort zone: W
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one: Write down three things that make you feel uncomfortable in your current role and plan how you’re going to act on them or offer to take on the task. It doesn’t have to be huge; baby steps will lead to changing your mindset and achieving your goals. 3. Introduce a ‘busy jar’ on your desk: Like a swear jar, it’s a great way to make yourself aware of the stress you are actually putting on yourself and change your language. Pop a coin in every time you consciously tell yourself you’re busy or stressed. Hopefully you don’t save too much! 4. Be proactive on feedback: Rather than sitting back and waiting for review time, pro-actively ask for feedback but make sure you ask specifically for constructive feedback! Top-performing people tend to stay at the top of their game because they consistently search for ways to be and do better. 5. Always be kind: Just because you want to develop your career this year doesn’t mean you need to compromise your integrity and level of empathy for others. Kindness always trumps poor behaviour, especially in the workplace! 6. Really get to know all your colleagues: Working from home has introduced natural boundaries to really connecting with your work peers. With back to the office back on the agenda, now is a great time to bolster your work relationships. Plus, being genuinely interested in your colleagues not only helps ease the stress of the day, it adds to job satisfaction, career growth and it makes you feel good! 7. Celebrate the success of others: We try to teach our children this at an early age and sometimes as adults we can easily forget. People like people who make them feel good and revelling in someone else’s success from time to time can make you feel good too! 8. Drop the perfectionism: Sometimes we may tend to strive for perfection, yet in this day and age it’s exhausting and frankly impossible to keep up. Don’t mistake this for work ethic though, there is a big difference. Try to cut yourself some slack and get out of the perfection-zone in 2023. Choose your battles. 9. Schedule breaks and stick to them: Research shows that micro-breaks are good for productivity, even though to start with it feels counterintuitive. With regular, small breaks, your ability to concentrate is increased and stress is reduced, so take the time to make that cup of tea or go for a walk around the block. You can even ask your colleagues if they want a cuppa (see 6 above). Breaks should not be taken at your desk! 10. Disconnect from technology: Create a phone, email and social media-free time zone in your home or at the office. It doesn’t mean you can’t check for an urgent message or email you’re waiting on, but dedicating even an hour free from it can result in increased efficiency and reduced stress levels. 11. Sleep needs to be at the top of your priority list: There are so many reports on the benefits of a good night’s sleep and in 2023, just like brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s time to get serious about implementing good sleep hygiene. A good night’s sleep is proven to reduce brain-fog and irritability and even bigger health risks like diabetes, obesity and sleep apnoea. If you find drifting off at night challenging, you’re not alone. Try to avoid all those things you know you shouldn’t be doing and if you can’t drop off, or wake in the night, try focusing on your breathing. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth requires concentration leaving you little time to think about the worries of the day. If external factors are at play, keep some ear plugs at the ready rather than stressing about the sleep you’re missing out on. 12. Start breakfast with a frog: The saying goes, “Eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” It’s simple; tackle the hardest task on your to-do list each morning and the rest of the day will flow. Try it, you’ll be surprised just how effective this is. 13. Get in the zone: Discover your flow and avoid multitasking. Start the day with five minutes of meditation, there are so many free apps out there that there are no excuses! Once you’re fully in the moment you’ll notice your productivity skyrocket. 14. Help others: Research shows that being helpful to others has a knock-on effect. It’s a great way to build self-esteem, with the inner enjoyment experienced in helping others enriching and expanding your own life. As the Dalai Lama says, “It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act.” 15. The power of three: Instead of declaring things like I’m not drinking this year, or I’m not eating chocolate, or I’m going to the gym every day, pick three smaller healthy habits that aren’t impossible to achieve. If you can conquer them with ease, you can always add more! 16. Network, network, network: It’s time to build your tribe or reconnect with other professionals in your industry. It’s not only a great way to meet people who understand your day-to-day challenges, but it can be an effective way to stay on top of what’s happening in your field and increase your personal brand from a career perspective. 17. Add a meeting buffer: Stop booking and accepting back-to-back meetings, allow at least 30 minutes in between meetings to reset and declutter your brain, this will help you recharge and reduce your anxiety to get the best out of each meeting you hold or take part in. 18. Ask “are you ok” on a daily basis: Don’t wait for Are You OK Day to ask a colleague or someone you know or care about if they’re ok. Trust your gut instinct and act. You don’t need to be an expert to reach out, just a good friend and a great listener. Starting a conversation could help them to open up. 19. Ask yourself “are you ok?”: Check in with yourself regularly, too. Be honest with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok from time to time but it’s not sustainable in the long-term. Does your workplace have a mental health programme or first-aider? There are lots of workplace programmes your company can join. Maybe consider being the champion of this worthy cause yourself? 20. Don’t keep doing what you’ve always done: As the saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always got.” Think about it. Change is difficult, otherwise you’d be doing it all the time. Ask what it is that stands in your way. Is it confidence, qualifications, or time? Each of these roadblocks can be overcome, often in conjunction with the other. 21. To thine own self be true: Are you aligned with the values of your organisation? Do you even know what they are? If you are, you’ll likely feel energised and positive, surrounded by like-minded people. If you’re not, you’re probably feeling burnt out and undervalued. Research organisations in industries of interest or who are active in areas you’re passionate about. It’ll feel less like work and more like a calling – sort of! 22. Consider a short sabbatical: Some organisations are open to sabbatical leave (paid and unpaid) and know the benefits to an employee, especially a long-serving one, who will return fired up and energised. If you love something, set it free. 23. Take control: You are in control of your own mindset, so in 2023 make a conscious effort to make it a growth mindset. Believe that you can grow from and thrive on challenges, learn new things and stretch your existing abilities.