Being intentional about advancing your career takes time, and it’s easy to let life get in the way. Dana Manciagli is back today to offer practical advice on making your career growth a priority. Dana is a veteran career coach, global career expert, highly sought-after speaker and author of The Business Journals’ Career Mojo column. Enjoy this piece, and if you feel stagnated in your career, consider putting these tips into action! — Maurice Gilbert
How do I stay focused on managing my career?
I know I’m supposed to make time for my career management — for networking, updating my resume, seeking other opportunities and more. However, I continue falling back into work projects or losing focus, so I’m struggling to sustain my career upkeep. Any advice?
Answer from Dana:
Here are five actions that you can implement immediately:
1. Schedule your important work as an appointment with yourself.
If you’re falling behind on your professional upkeep, open your calendar, block off a large chunk of time, and label it “My Career Time.” Put the details in the body of the invitation to yourself — e.g. update résumé, sign up for two evening networking events, etc.
2. Turn off e-mail and your phone.
Well, turn them off while you are working on your most important professional project: your career. This will help you avoid distractions while you get the heavy lifting done.
3. Work on the hardest stuff when you’re at your best.
If you’re sharpest in the morning, use that time to work on your most important career-related projects. Remember, the majority of the career-building activities — like signing up for networking activities (bizjournals.com), sending networking emails or updating your résumé — can be done any day of the week.
4. Learn how to say NO.
I know from experience that people will ask for favors, meetings and guidance constantly. Before saying yes, ask yourself: How will this further my career or help me grow professionally? If it doesn’t, politely say “No.” Then, replace that time with an appointment from the first recommendation above!
5. Remove yourself from distractions at home.
If you work full-time, then you can only cultivate your personal career goals at night or on weekends. Make the most of that time by going where you can focus and avoid unnecessary distractions. Your family will understand if you say, “I’m going to spend a few hours at the library to work on my career plan.”
Dana Manciagli is a career expert, speaker and consultant. She has spent more than 30 years as a Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive and is now retired after more than a decade at Microsoft. Dana is the author of the book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” and a prolific blogger. She sits on the worldwide board of Junior Achievement and has her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.