5 Tips for managing your work and your career

With the multitude of tasks that we fully expect to be able to juggle, the relentless requests for us to do more and the desire to always perform at our best (and this is just at work!) learning the skills of how to work and manage your career are more important than ever.

Here are 5 of my top tips to help you manage your work and your career:

1. Decide what's important to you. 

To be your best you need to decide what is the most important use of your time and energy. It’s unrealistic to try to deal with every one of the multitude of demands that come at you, this approach comes at the cost of not being able to do anything well.

Prioritize the three most important areas of focus for your job. Be honest with yourself about what is essential to meet the key deliverables of your job, the time-frames available and for you. Use the old "what's important versus urgent" test to help you separate the multiple tasks you have on your plate.
If you find it hard to make this decision, ask your manager, something like, “If you had to prioritize the three most important things I need to deliver what would they be?” This should give you enough information to know about what to focus on.

2. Simplify your expectations

And work out how much you can realistically do. Bear in mind that you may not be able to do everything that you want. It is crucial to understand that just because you have the capability to do everything (you might have the skills to write a business plan, negotiate with suppliers, answer emails, train the new person, redo the company website and wash all the dishes left in the kitchen) the chances are that you don't have the capacity (as in enough hours in the day) to do it all. Learning to live with this reality is something that many people find difficult to reconcile. But you have to.

3. Don't multi-task

No matter how much you have to do, ignore stereotypes and expectations that you do everything at the same time. Women are often seen as the ultimate multi-taskers. Scientific studies now suggest that this may not be the most efficient way of working due to the downtime and significant effort that is required to swap between tasks. Superheroes belong in comic books and movies, not in real life. You may feel that you need extraordinary powers just to juggle everything that is expected of you on a daily basis. But you don’t. Concentrate on one task and do it well.

4. Look after yourself

So that you are able operate at your best! This is absolutely essential to achieve and maintain career success. No matter how busy you are, you need to prioritize the things that help you look after yourself. This could be anything from maintaining your appearance to enjoying things that you would usually feel guilty about. Like having a manicure, spa treatment, a massage or attending a yoga class. While some people are more likely to notice the overall effect than little details like a good hair-cut make, others certainly will. It sends a message that you are well-organized and in control, so consider time for yourself as an investment in your career.

5. Be good at what you do 

This the foundation of your career and your potential success. One of the major differences between those who are good at what they do and those who really get ahead is that they don’t settle for less than their best and they are constantly looking for ways to improve. 
It is more important that you put effort into fewer tasks but they are done well, very well. Being prepared to do a little more than others will give you an edge over your competitors, both in a business and a career sense. This will positively influence not only for your career reputation, but also your own confidence and sense of achievement.

And isn't that a great definition of career success?

- Karen

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