We’ve all been there at some time. Working on your everyday tasks, thinking there must be more to this job than updating excel sheets or replying to emails. Perhaps you’re consistently the go-to person which leaves no time for yourself and the extra duties at hand.
Below are some tell-tale signs of obstacles in your career, and some great tips to overcome them. You may find that instead of a complete career change, all you needed was some sprucing up.
Change Up Your Routine
Ever your eyelids dropping as you stare at the screen for the fifth consecutive hour? Stimulate your life. Move around the office to work. Tack some inspirational pictures of your next vacation. Personalise your outlook calendar with bursts of colour. What else could you change? Take on a task or project that’s been pushed aside and make it your own.
Author and visionary, Nilofer Merchant, suggests a small idea that might have a significant impact on your life just might be a walk in the park. No, not the expression but the actual doing. Get your toosh off that office chair, body away from the florescent lighting and walk your meetings; fresh air drives fresh thinking and brings into your life a new set of ideas.
Start Saying “No!”
It feels good to be the accessible go-to guy or girl and hearing those words “thank you so much,” but what happens when those projects pile up, and deadlines start looming? Or when those extra hours at work become a halt on your personal goals? Being a team player is not a bad thing, but when every request takes your attention away from what’s truly important, you risk spreading yourself too thin. Personal boundaries are beneficial to exercise and over time, a healthy habit to continue. If someone comes to ask you about everything instead of going to the direct source, you can answer back “That’s not my area of expertise, but I would be more than happy to put you in contact with someone who can help you with this.” It won’t be easy to say, but in time, these phrases will start flowing naturally.
Let’s Get Excited
Have you done everything in your job description and just don’t know what to do next? Take a moment to think back to what first excited you most about your work. Perhaps it was creating a new activity for a lesson or working with others to strategize the next project. Research reveals that people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life and six times more likely to be engaged at work.
A Happy Brain Keeps You Sane
Shawn Achor, leading expert in the connection between happiness and success, found that 75% of job success is predicated not by intelligence but by the person’s optimism, social support network and the ability to manage stress in a positive way. Train your brain to be positive in just two minutes for 21 days in a row, and you can rewire the brain to work more optimistically. For example, write down three new things you are grateful for every day. Doing exercises such as this creates ripples of positivity and changes the mindset to a more positive one.
(Check out the Ted Talk by Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work).
SWOT analysis is a powerful but simple tool to look at your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. What do you do better than anyone else? What advantages do you have that others don’t have? Next, let’s look at your weaknesses. What tasks might fill you with fear when given to you? Perfectionism is a dated strength so look into growing your mindset and change some bad habits. No opportunity is too small or too hard. Look at opportunities as a way to overcome threats. If a position you want is currently occupied, could you help take on some the person’s projects as a way to gain experience?
Career obstacles are just another form of a work imbalance. Try different things, set up some boundaries, reboot your passion, train your brain and SWOT your life.
Catherine Hsieh is a professional career coach and Senior Trainer for Talent and Learning Development in TRT. From teaching in 2011 to recruiting over 140 teachers, she’s now committed to strengthening and developing training projects to encourage development of professional skills among teacher and managers. California is where she calls home so naturally, one of her passions include spending time on the beach, doing yoga, and cooking up a storm in her mini kitchen.
Keep up with her on Linkedin