The New Year is a fresh start. What are you going to try this year? What are you going to do differently to improve your life? The gyms are packed and everyone you know is on a diet but there are many different directions that you could go with your New Year's resolutions. Why not use it as an opportunity to fast track your career?! Here are a few changes that you can make in the way that you conduct yourself at work that will make you a more valued employee and open up doors for you:
Do your best work. It can be tempting to fall into the trap of just putting in the minimum amount of effort that you need to get by. This approach is not good for your motivation, confidence or reputation. For 2019, try to put your heart into your work. If you don't enjoy the tasks that you are doing, ask for new opportunities and assignments. If you are performing well in your current position, your manager is more likely to give you additional responsibilities.
Prioritize better. Given that most jobs include more tasks than you will ever be able to complete, the ability to prioritize is important. You need to be able to determine which tasks are crucial to your employer and which tasks can wait. When you are putting most of your energy into the areas that your manager will be evaluating, you are much more likely to be successful. A good first step is to ask for a meeting with your manager to talk about priorities and to ask for feedback. Most managers will appreciate your desire to improve and the information that you receive will help you perform well in your job.
Be a problem solver. Managers love employees who are willing and able to solve problems. Before you bring an issue to your manager, ask yourself if there is anything that you can do about it. Even if you don't feel like you have the authority to execute the solution, you can bring your manager the problem with your ideas. They will appreciate you taking initiative and if you find that your manager likes your ideas, you may eventually feel confident enough to solve the problem without escalating it.
Build more relationships. Strong relationships are one of the keys to success in any job. By focusing on building and maintaining positive relationships with your coworkers, you will find that it is easier for you to do your job and that your time at work is much more pleasant. You can take it even further by networking with people in your industry. With your industry connections, you can share resources and learn about new opportunities. It is your network that will bring your career to the next level.
Set goals. It is difficult to accomplish anything without clear goals. When you set goals, you are better able to focus your energy and make progress. Goals are most effective when they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.) If you aren't sure about what you want to accomplish, you could set small goals for a week or even a day. For example, you could set the goal of getting three positive customer satisfaction surveys in a week or aim to increase the speed of your data entry by 10%. If you're feeling a little more ambitious, you could set the goal of getting a position in another department within six months. Make a plan to get there and start working towards it.
If your career hasn't worked out the way that you had hoped, now is the time to change it. There is a Chinese proverb that states, "The best time to plant a tree is thirty years ago; the second best time is today." You can take actions right now that will set you up to have a great career by January 2020. If you start by making a few small adjustments in what you do every day, you can change your life.
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by rawpixel.com)