If you’re putting something off over and over, there’s probably a good reason for that.
Over the years, I have become quite a student of anti-procrastination techniques. There’s the work-on-something else method (I’m writing this article because I don’t feel like editing a different project). There’s bribery (I can read a magazine afterwards!) Then there’s my favorite method: starting in the middle. I write an easy paragraph, then write a little bit above, and a little bit below, and so on, until, miraculously, I have a draft.
Sometimes these work. But sometimes, there’s a deeper message in procrastination. If you pay attention, these lessons can not only advance your career, they can help you finish the task that’s stymying you right now.
A key insight is that most of us don’t procrastinate everything. Much of the stuff we grumble about we get to eventually. So if you find yourself resisting something again and again, step back from your usual crutches (email, web surfing) and spend some time asking why.
No more excuses: Stop procrastinating and get to work with these tips.
One of the biggest problems you need to solve if you work for yourself is how to make yourself do work.
The best entrepreneurs have figured it out and just pound out the work they need to do.
But many others put off their dream careers, or stay in jobs they don’t like, because they’re afraid to figure this out. Being in a job, or staying in college, means that you have someone else imposing work and deadlines on you, and you’ll get fired (or dropped from school) if you don’t do the work. So you put off doing the work until you can’t anymore because of the fear of being fired.
What does this say about us? It’s saying that we can’t trust ourselves enough to figure out how to motivate ourselves. I know, because I was in this boat for many years. It wasn’t until I started to learn to solve this problem that I found the courage to work for myself.
It’s solvable. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. And you can do it just as much as I can—I’m no superman, trust me. I feel lazy, I procrastinate, I fear failure, just like anyone else. But I’ve learned a few things that work for me.
What works for you will be different, but here are some ideas I use that might help:
Networking in a new industry can be daunting for even the most socially adept. Here’s how to dissolve the nerves.
Networking is research-proven to be the overwhelmingly best way to land a job, better than job board hunting and recruiter services.
But for most of us—introverts, especially—selling oneself as a “brand” doesn’t come naturally. Something as small as fully owning the skills section of your resume feels like pulling your own teeth; shoving yourself out the door to walk into a room of strangers feels like a root canal.
Here’s how to calm the nerves and awkwardness that come with wading into a crowd of industry pros, in search of your next big break:
Ignoring an in-office conflict won’t make it go away. Here’s how to get things back on track.
You’ve had an interaction with a coworker during which you felt hurt, angry, misunderstood, and wronged—clearly it was an upsetting and difficult situation.
As you regroup, you review what happened, what you heard and experienced. Replaying the conversation is painful and you begin to plan what you’d like to say as a follow-up. Of course the other person is taking stock and regrouping too, and he or she likely has a very different take on what happened.
Revisiting and repairing a difficult interaction in the workplace is a complex process. Here’s how to get started:
The most successful show us that making your dream job a reality has very little to do with money.
It always seems the job you would love never comes with the pay you want.
Money is unfortunately a necessity that we all need in order to survive, and its significance causes us to make decisions and create goals that are derived from the idea of attaining wealth. It is often our primary motivator in life.
However, if we look back at the most successful people in the world, their motivation and drive had less to do with money than one may think. And this, surprisingly enough, is often what enabled them to succeed.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, has always encouraged others to follow their heart and make a difference: “I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off doing nothing.”
Does your morning look like Margaret Thatcher’s, or Ben Franklin’s? These routines might inspire you to create your own.
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, we all start our day at some point. And we all seem to start it differently.
Some of us hop online to check social media, others dive in to email, still others eat breakfast, exercise, or pack lunches for the kids. There’re a million different ways a morning could go.
Which morning routine might be best?
While there’s probably not an ideal morning routine that fits everyone, we can learn a lot from the morning routines of successful people as well as from the research and inspiration behind starting a morning on the right foot.
I collected a wide range of opinions on how best to start a day, from the scientific to the successful. Here’s the best of what I found—maybe it’ll help you get a little more productivity, creativity, and enjoyment out of your morning.
Careful listening, collaboration, asking good questions—these “soft skills” aren’t always taught in school.
Today’s college graduates need every skill-related edge they can get when it comes to applying for and landing a full-time job.
Numerous surveys and reports indicate that recent U.S. college graduates face a wildly competitive job market along with astronomical student loan debt. More than 40% of recent graduates are underemployed and 16% are working part-time jobs, according to Accenture’s 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey.
One employer survey, conducted by staffing company Adecco, indicates that 44% of responding companies cited “soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration” as the area with “the biggest gap.”
Additionally, a Talent Shortage Survey from ManpowerGroup discovered that nearly one in five employers worldwide is unable to fill positions because they can’t find people with soft skills.
So what are these soft skills—and other critical workplace skills—that are necessary to join today’s collaborative, fast-moving, real-time workforce? Here are five:
When you look back at your career, do you see a distinct plan unfolding or a bunch of random connections, chance encounters, and detours?
After working for 25 years, and through trial and error, I finally realized something powerful. I understood and acknowledged that it wasn’t a random set of acts or events that produced the success and joy I have felt in my career.
What I learned in going through challenges, in encountering roadblocks and obstacles, is that I have to be true to myself. These six promises are commitments that I’ve made to myself and mindfully put into practice in every situation that I’ve been in. My advice, from someone who has been there, is to make these six promises and keep them:
Good intentions can only get you so far: You need a plan for your career.
Whatever you want to achieve in life, having a career strategy is fundamental to achieving it. Making things up as you go along can take you in the right direction, but a good plan will get you there faster and more effectively.
So what are the steps you can take to ensure that your career strategy develops you to your best potential? What can you learn from the experts and those who have already built the career that they want?