If you’re making 2019 the year of the career, you’ll have probably spent some time thinking about how you’re going to maximise your opportunities. Before you start thinking too big and abstract though, why not think about daily habits and rituals that you can consistently perform to enhance your career prospects? Often it’s the consistency of small steps that translate into big results. Here are 5 things to do every day to get ahead in your career.
1. Step outside of your comfort zone
It’s a habit that’s well-worth establishing early on in your career, as it will pay dividends as you progress. It doesn’t have to be a huge, dramatic step outside of your comfort zone each time you do it, but it needs to become routine—and you need to hold yourself accountable to it. Whether it’s speaking up in a meeting that you’re normally pretty quiet in or asking someone you admire within your company to get a coffee or lunch, make sure you get comfortable with being uncomfortable—and watch as you reap the rewards.
2. Chip away at a side project
Do you have a passion project? If not, you probably need one. It’s 2019 after all, and it’s hard to stand out from the crowd unless you have unique experiences and skills. Whether it’s something creative like running a blog, curating a photography Instagram page, hand-making jewellery or something that involves volunteering, setting up a side business or dipping your toe into the freelance world, it’s important to no longer be a one-trick pony.
Working on a side hustle also keeps you inspired and productive, without over-doing it at your day job—which can quickly lead to resentment and fatigue. A great habit to form that will stand your career prospects in excellent stead.
3. Keep up-to-date lists and resources
And when we say resources, we mean your personal assets—like a portfolio website, LinkedIn page, relevant social media, resume and cover letter. Not only does this keep your developing skill set and goals in front of mind, but it also saves you a whole heap of time when it comes to applying for new opportunities. Remember that nothing says ‘slack’ quite like a half-completed website or LinkedIn page that hasn’t been updated since 2016, so dedicate regular time towards refreshing your assets.
And while we’re on the subject, it’s also worth keeping up-to-date lists of networking opportunities, places you’d like to freelance at, potential career options and people you’d like to get to know better in order to further your career. Having them front of mind will mean you’re way more likely to take action!
Making networking a habit is the easiest way to get over how ‘scary’ a lot of people find it to begin with. Doing so with the intent of establishing a long-term relationship is the best way to use your network to your advantage—and you’ll notice it quickly grow if you commit to making it a priority.
Get in the habit of keeping in touch with connections by tagging them or emailing them articles you think they might find of interest, or set a recurring monthly coffee date in both of your calendars to catch up—even, and especially when you don’t have a particular career need in mind.
Yup, you can’t run a car when it’s out of petrol—so taking time to rest and get enough sleep is absolutely fundamental to your career success. Scheduling rest time into your life will help to prevent the common, dramatic swing between doing too much work with being completely and utterly lazy. Taking regular time out to recharge means that you’ll always have some juice in your engine—which is absolutely necessary if you’re to progress within your career!