Success may happen by accident or by design, but you're more likely to achieve career goals when you move forward with purpose. You can make simple choices every day to accomplish more at work and show employers you're capable of handling bigger responsibilities. Learn from other successful people with these five life hacks for leveling up your career.
1. Get More Sleep
How often do you go to bed late, wake up at the last minute and dawdle through the first hour of work? Poor sleep habits prevent you from being focused and energized, which makes it hard to build momentum throughout the day. Instead of envying top performers, pay attention to their good habits that help with productivity. Get up earlier to give yourself time to relax and clear your thoughts. Mornings are a good time to work out or meditate, so you gain a burst of energy right before work.
2. Define Your Career Goals
Putting in more time and effort is useless if you don't know what you want. Are you pursuing a leadership role or just looking for opportunities to learn? Are you interested in a completely different job or moving to a different department?
Whatever the case, make sure your extra effort is serving your career goals. If your employer offers little room for growth, it might be better to focus your extra effort on job hunting elsewhere.
3. Plan Your Day in Advance
Take control of your own success by creating a roadmap for each workday. While you can't plan for surprise interruptions, starting your day with an organized strategy is the best way to cover the most important tasks on your to-do list and avoid distractions.
The night before work, think about any projects, meetings and checkpoints slated for the next day. That way, you can mentally divide up your day into efficient blocks of time. Group similar responsibilities together, so you don't waste time backtracking. Otherwise, you're likely to jump back and forth between different tasks and never develop a steady rhythm.
4. Focus and Prioritize
Concentrate on projects that have the most impact to show employers you understand the big picture. Prioritize tasks that are necessary to help your team make progress or solve problems. Knock out easy, but essential, tasks right away, ensuring that other team members have the information they need to be productive.
Instead of working aimlessly, break larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Prioritizing helps you build momentum and reach milestones that encourage you to keep going. Much like your to-do list, career goals are easier to manage if you focus on what's attainable in the short term.
5. Introduce Yourself to People
Employers hire and promote people they know, not invisible saints who toil away in secret. Building relationships with important people improves your chances of achieving your career goals. Take part in business events where you can introduce yourself to company leaders. From time to time, offer to treat a co-worker to lunch, so you can get to know teammates one on one.
Talk to successful people around you about how they achieved their career goals. Often, minor changes in your mentality and personal habits can help you stand out and perform better. Experienced professionals, what life hacks can you share with others?
Photo courtesy of Dell Inc. at Flickr.com