As we kickoff the new year, it’s important to look beyond resolutions like a new diet or tighter budget that won’t last past March. January is a great time to reflect on your career goals and get serious about your professional life. Whether you’re an intern or an executive, adopting these habits will help you make strides in your career.
1. Clear your inbox
Starting 2017 fresh will clear up your mental clutter. Getting to “inbox zero” may take time, but the new year is a great excuse for sifting through your unread emails and getting your desktop in order.
A new calendar, notebook, or plant for your desk can also help start you off on the right foot.
2. Conduct your own evaluation
Before setting new resolutions, it’s important to take stock of where you are now. Are you happy in your career? Are you doing work that you love? Are you making enough money? Are you overwhelmed or do you feel like you could take on more responsibility?
Reflect on your current situation and write down your goals, and plans to achieve them, for the year ahead.
3. Start every day with something positive
Make a conscious effort to begin each day with positivity and motivation. Whether it’s sitting for breakfast with your roommate or family, listening to an inspiring podcast on your commute, or texting a funny meme to a friend, starting the day with a smile helps you approach the workday with the right mindset.
4. Make a prioritized to-do list
Before you leave for work each day, create a to-do list for the day ahead. Break large tasks into small steps and establish deadlines so you have something to work against. Creating and writing down targets can spur action.
5. Flip your phone face down
Though not out of sight, placing your phone face down or putting it away reduces the temptation to check it compulsively. The less you’re distracted at work, the more work you’ll do, and consequently, the more often you’ll leave on time.
6. Make time in your schedule to learn new skills
Improving and adding skills like coding can help keep you competitive and future-proof your career. Ask your company about sponsoring an online course or invest some time and money to do it on your own.
If you need help staying motivated, reward yourself with something like a special dinner, weekend trip, or new pair of shoes every time you level up your skills.
7. Ask for tools
If you need an industry tool or app to help you work more efficiently, gather the courage to ask your boss. It might come with a monthly fee, but they’ll be impressed you researched solutions, and there’s a good chance they’ll see it as a smart investment.
8. Say no to unnecessary meetings
Meetings can be a big time-suck. Only accept invitations to the ones you absolutely must attend. And before you schedule a new meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same outcomes with an email, phone call, or an informal chat.
9. Share industry knowledge
Make the most of downtime at work by reading industry news. Find a few blogs or newsletters that focus on your interests so you can spend less time sifting through irrelevant news.
Share your learnings and the thoughts or ideas they spark with a group of coworkers to start a conversation you can all benefit from.
10. Expand your connections
Even if you’re happy at your job, networking can build your personal brand and create connections for later down the road.
In the same vein, January is a great time to update your portfolio, LinkedIn, or personal website. You never know when an opportunity will come knocking.
Have you made any work-related resolutions for 2017? Share any fresh ideas in our Facebook comments!