Right now, with everything going on, it’s understandable if thoughts about your career have slipped down the priority list a bit. After all, career development takes LOADS of time right?
Below I'm going to give you 5 tips for how to keep the momentum going on your career development (whichever direction you are heading) in just a few minutes a day.
Even if you can only spend 10 minutes a day thinking about your career and how you want it to look, by the end of the year, that would be 60 hours – over 2 full days, or 7 working days!
Just think what you could do in that time!
So, here are my top tips for the things you can do when you are time-poor:
Tip 1: Focus on you
Building a working life focused on what’s important to you (your values) is fundamental to being happy in our jobs. And it’s something that doesn’t necessarily happen overnight.
But thinking about it in short bursts can help you break down a big task into something much more manageable.
Write down some of the things that make you feel good at work – having variety in your work, constantly learning new things, working in a team – whatever it might be.
Choose 1 of these things to start with, and write down 3 things you could do to get more of that thing in your work.
Which one can you get started on today?
Tip 2: Think about your experience
If you are thinking of looking for a new role this year, then a few minutes a day or a week focusing on your experience can make job hunting a less daunting task.
When you are thinking about what you’ve achieved in the past, trying putting it in the STAR format – describe the Situation, the Task, your Action and the Result.
Make sure you focus on what YOU did (rather than the team) and what this shows about your skills and strengths.
Having a few pre-prepared examples things you are proud of in your career, which showcase your range of skills, can make the preparation for interviews a more straightforward process.
Tip 3: Keep in touch
Networking is one of those things that tends to slip when life get busy, but with around 60 – 70% of new jobs coming from connections, it really can pay off to put in a bit of effort to keep in touch with contacts, and strike up new conversations.
Schedule in a few minutes to look at LinkedIn / Instagram / whichever platform is right for your industry, and take the time to get involved with conversations and keep up to date with your contacts’ news. Try to be intentional with the time to avoid disappearing down a scroll hole!
You don’t need to devote lots of time to this, but just a few minutes now and then could lead to opportunities
If you can, take a minute to share anything that might be relevant for your colleagues, and make sure you share your own news!
Tip 4: Explore new ideas
If you are thinking of a more dramatic career shift this year, then spending time exploring your ideas is a great place to be focusing for a few minutes each day.
To make the most of the time you have, be really specific about what you want to get out of it (eg looking at a specific course to find a particular piece of info), or find a specific article to read, a specific amount of a book, or drafting an email to a new contact for example.
Keeping a record of what you are doing, and what the next steps are is a useful way of making sure you can dive in when you have a spare moment, rather than having to spend time working out what to do when you finally find a few moments.
Tip 5: Build your confidence.
We have about 60,000 thoughts a day, and a whopping 65% - 75% of them are negative!
If you are feeling a bit low on confidence right now, take a few minutes everyday to become more aware of the ‘internal chatter’ that coming up.
The next time you find yourself thinking “I can’t do that / I’m no good at that / my team doesn’t like me / [insert belief here]” note that belief down. Now honestly, is there basis to this belief? Or is it just your gremlins talking? If you asked your best friend or your manager, what would they say?
If you honestly feel there is a gap in your skills, then make a note to take an action on it (enrol in a course, catch up on a training video, speak to your boss about on the job training etc).
But if it isn’t based in truth then think about how you could turn it round – instead of “I am rubbish at networking” you could turn it into “I am a confident and competent networker”.
Stick this affirmation somewhere prominent, so that you can see it / think about it / repeat it often, and over time, new neural pathways will be built, replacing the negative belief with the positive one.
I’ve worked with people who have them stuck on the wall behind their desk, I know people who use them as screen savers, and I have clients who have stuck them on the bathroom mirror!
What 1 belief about yourself would you like to let go of? What would you like to believe instead?
So there you go - 5 tips for continuing your career momentum, even when you're struggling for time.
Which one are you going to do today?