Five Ways to Advance Your Career, and Yourself
Building a career can be a bit like rock climbing: bursts of exhilaration mixed with moments of trepidation, driven by the determination of powering toward your goal. Like the sport, your career climb hinges on anchoring yourself, having solid strategies, and achieving balance.
1. Put Time on Your Side
Just like over-training on the rock wall, overworking can hamper performance. If you’re working extreme hours, start by evaluating your workload and the drivers behind your work habits.
Do you feel you have intense deadlines? Or that hard work is necessary at this earlier career stage to be noticed by managers? Or is it possible you could improve your time management techniques? Get clear on business priorities to optimize efforts instead of pushing to get “everything” done.
Respect your own time and needs. If you have a flexible work schedule, plan challenging projects and critical meetings for times when you’re at your best. Taking five for a few stretches or finding out what the sun looks like can give you fresh perspective, along with some fresh air. When it’s nice out, set up with your laptop outside.
And make sure to schedule some solid “me-time” into your evenings and weekends, balancing it with in-person connections with friends and family and doing the activities you love.
2. Build a Healthier Workspace
Speak up for wellness – it can help both your teammates and your company.
Suggest inexpensive steps for a healthier work environment. If your chair isn’t comfortable or at the right height, don’t just power through; request a different, or even ergonomic, one. Swap your chair for a fitness ball (plus a core muscle and balance workout) or try a standing desk. And ask for some healthier snacks and drinks in the kitchen or office vending machines.
Find out if your company offers (or would offer) fitness programs, or discounts to gyms and other health services. If your company has an employee assistance program (EAP), check for discounted wellness perks like yoga, massage, nutrition coaching or even services like counseling for stress.
3. Fuel Your Success
A healthy diet is literally food for thought. Stocking up on appealing healthy snacks and meal options at work is the best way to keep that cake in the kitchen from ruining your well-intentioned day.
Carving out some time to grocery shop and cook at home – even if it’s infrequently – can help put you ahead for the week with lunches and dinners. Dishes like soups, roasted chicken, and whole grain casseroles are good for multiple meals and freezing leftovers. Many food planning apps can help, like:
● MealPrepPro, to tailor meals to personal information and diet preferences (vegan, keto, etc.) with a shopping list and cooking videos;
● Make My Plate, including shopping lists and healthy options from chain restaurants; or
● Shopwell to help with healthier grocery choices.
4. Trim Your Digital Diet
Constant connection can create a false sense of urgency (FOMO, anyone?), so be strategic with your online time.
Resist the urge to check each email notification, especially after work hours or during vacations. Online email management courses can teach useful techniques, while apps like SaneBox filter mail and provide reminders, and Boomerang helps you compose emails and manage your inbox.
Be cognizant of binge-watching or gaming marathons that can devour your downtime. Mix in some “offline” activities that you love: dust off the guitar you haven’t played in a while, doodle, or dance.
5. Fit In Fitness
It can be tough to squeeze even more into your busy days (and evenings), and fitness can easily fall to the bottom of the list.
Short activity breaks during the workday can still make a positive difference. Challenge yourself to bike or walk to work or do a “power climb” by taking the elevator down and walking up several flights.
If you’re debating a gym, choose one near work or home to make it faster and easier to work out. If a social community keeps you accountable, explore sports and activity meet ups nearby. If you’re more of a soloist, take advantage of fitness apps to monitor and mix up your routine.
Enjoy The View As You Climb!
Your workplace triumphs are very important, but remember that wellness is a foundation for growth in every facet of your life. Keep indulging in rewarding personal interests, building and maintaining strong relationships, and taking time for yourself – all of which are just as important to your successful career.