Category Archives: Career Advice

7 Ways to Avoid Procrastinating and to Achieve Your Most Important Goals

Overcoming the temptation to procrastinate can be challenging with the constant inflow of email, calls, seemingly pressing but not critical tasks, and 24/7 social networking. But you don’t want what you aren’t doing to stand in the way of your own success.

With two businesses and family priorities on my mind, here are seven tips I use to balance the goals in the different quadrants of my life and get the most important things done:

1) Pinpoint your most important goals and what you need to accomplish each week to achieve them

2) Each morning take a few minutes to visualize what you’ll focus on and do a gut check as to whether you have covered your priorities. Is what you’re devoting  your time to helping you meet your most critical goals?

3) Set a schedule and stick to it – carve out the time you need for each of the most critical things on your list. If you need to write or do other creative, thought intensive work, block out interruptions and pledge to spend the next hour or however long it takes to get that stage of your project done.

4) Post reminders everywhere within reason that you can – for example, I use my online tasks list and notes on my online calendar but also have white boards posted in a couple of strategic locations to keep my goals front and center.

5) Don’t always say yes. Be politely assertive about saying you can’t do things that you know will derail your goals by taking time away from your priorities. If you are torn because you really want to do something that you know you don’t have time for now, you can always say you would love to do it but in a few months or next year.

6) If you’re stuck, sometimes the best approach is to take a walk and take along a notepad, smart phone, or iPad so you can think through the issues while you stroll and stop and jot down notes as they come to you.

7) Refuel your energy by exercising, getting quality sleep, and eating healthfully most days of the week. I became enthusiastic about exercising when I realized I could recharge and refresh while doing my metabolism and health such a great favor.

I think most people have days when you knock it out of the ballpark and other lower energy days, it’s about plugging away at what’s most important but taking time for fun, relaxation, and family that balances everything.

What are your tips for meeting your goals and making the most of your time?

Tips for Building a Strong Professional Network

An effective, supportive network can serve as your own personal advisory council and see you through life’s twists and turns.

While it can be tempting to reserve networking for job hunting, cultivating your network on an ongoing basis is a powerful strategy for meeting your business and career goals. The best networks are built by seeking opportunities to connect and enrich people. It can’t be just about what you can get from people but what you can do to help them.

Look at your network regularly to explore how you can enhance your relationships and expand your connections. For example:

  • What are people’s different strengths and experiences that you can learn from?
  • What can you share – information, experiences, contacts – that would be most helpful to them?
  • Are there kinds of people with particular experiences or strengths that you would particularly like to find?
  • Who could you offer to mentor or ask to mentor you?
  • What are people’s interests, affiliations, volunteer connections?
  • How are different people you know connected? People are often connected to each other in ways you might not have expected.

 

Social networks like LinkedIn and now Google+ are invaluable tools for learning more about your current and potential contacts and sharing updates and information. However, nothing beats a relaxing coffee chat or engaging phone call.

Making the Time

We are all very busy but scheduling time for strengthening your current relationships and starting new ones is well worth your time. You can’t only turn to your network when you need something and expect an enthusiastic response. Cultivating real relationships takes time, care, and listening to what is important to the other person and sharing value related to that need.

A Note about Welcoming Outreach

When you are very busy – especially if you are in the kind of position in which you are frequently contacted by job seekers and other networkers – it can be tempting to brush people off. But try to fit in a reasonable number  of contacts by controlling how often you do it and for what length of time. I really believe that what you give comes back to you in kind; generosity of spirit begets generosity. And you never know when the person you brush off could end up in a position that would be pivotal to your organization or career.

What Will Success Look Like?

In the midst of never ending projects, emails, calls, colleagues stopping by to chat, and social media updates, do you have a clear perspective of which are the most important goals you want to achieve in your professional and personal life?

It is so easy to be pulled into the maelstrom of seemingly urgent tasks and lose sight of what will really take your career to the next level, or more importantly, feel most satisfying to you personally.

Seagull flyingWhat are the top three professional goals that will take your organization and career to the next level? What about in your personal life? What is truly most important to achieve and how will you know you have succeeded?

Whether you are an entrepreneur or a professional serving a large or small private sector company or a nonprofit, keeping your eye on three overarching goals and the milestones and measures to get you there is critical for success. The same is true for your personal life — for example, striving to keep work/life balance through getting regular exercise and/or spending quality time with your family.

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Are You Focusing on What Is Most Important?

It is easy to be distracted by the endless mundane but seemingly urgent everyday projects and talks, but they do not position your organization or your career for the future.

Does your organizations have three clear goals and messages that are most important for success?

close up photo of forest treesDo you keep an eye on changing trends in the marketplace, your constituents’ needs and wants, and the impact of constantly changing technology? And then regularly update your goals?

 

Having overarching goals for your organization gives staff a shared understanding of your future and your priorities. It is also vital to know the strategies, milestones, and measures that illustrate what success looks like.

It is common over the years for  organizations to have a wide variety of products, programs, projects, and procedures that evolve to meet different staff’s interests and expertise. But do they serve the mission and guiding strategies for the organization? Or do they eat up time that could be better utilized to ensure the future you envision?

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Resilience: The Most Important Ingredient for Success

What is the most critical factor that individuals and organizations need to succeed in any personal or professional challenge? Reflecting on my conversations with hundreds of people from California to Cleveland to Washington, DC and New York who have shared how the economy has impacted their businesses and personal lives, I believe the answer is resilience.

Seedling growing

A strong, resilient spirit sparks the optimism, ingenuity, and foresight to explore new opportunities, adapt to a constantly changing marketplace, and see opportunity in the possibilities ahead.

 

Adversity happens. There are situations you cannot control, it’s how you react to them that counts. It’s how you try to foresee what might happen in the future and proactively plan that will see you through.

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