Spring Cleaning

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Featured, Individuals, Miscellaneous, Organizations, Women | 0 comments

Spring Cleaning

You may be one of those who at the end of the year reviews your goals, notes which ones you achieved and which ones you didn’t, and from them creates new resolutions. Maybe you’re even among the few who actually keep them. But if you’re like most people, then you slipped back into your old habits before February was out.

Maybe you’ve repeated this cycle for so many years that you don’t even bother to look at your resolutions until after the next Christmas.

Well, it’s time for you to take another approach. Why lose nine months? That’s the time between the end of March and the New Year. Why not get out your goals and do a bit of spring cleaning? Why not bring them in by the fire and chase away the winter blues? The time will pass whether you do anything about them or not. Imagine how you’ll feel if, at the end of the year, you still manage to achieve what you set out to do even though you got a late start.

Where do you start?

Start by thinking about what your goals are right now, not just at work but in your life as a whole. Work is one half of the work-life balance. You don’t want to become fixated on the one while losing sight of the other. That imbalance will prevent you from achieving your long-term goals, as many have learned to their cost.

It’s true that one reason people fail to achieve their goals is because the going gets too tough; but another reason is that their goals change in line with their circumstances. In other words, other things become more important. You shouldn’t hold yourself rigidly to a goal you made in January if what is going on in March is significantly different. Companies revise their strategies all the time. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same when you need to.

You should also remind yourself of where you finished last year and then compare that to where you are now. It’s possible that you’ve made some progress even without knowing it. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t. Whether you have or haven’t, you can’t move forward without knowing one way or the other where you are.

Create a new plan

Someone once said that most of us overestimate what we can accomplish in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade. Make sure that what you plan to achieve in the next nine months is reasonable. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t put yourself in a position where you need to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Pressure and short-term deadlines are overrated. While there’s some truth to the idea that your work will expand to fill the time available, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to accomplish quality work if you have less time to do it. What you originally thought was possible in a year needs to be tailored to the time that remains.

Here are five areas where you’ll need to clean-up your plan:

1. Your resume

Most people do not keep their resumes up to date. If they aren’t planning to change jobs anytime soon, then they feel that there’s no reason to. There’s a problem that can arise when you do, however, and you’ll need to be careful that this doesn’t happen to you. If it becomes known that you’re cleaning it up, then those around you may get the idea that you’re thinking of leaving. So it’s best to keep quiet about this.

2. Your online profiles

It’s getting to be the first point-of-call for future employers to look online for information on its applicants. Make sure that your information is current, wherever it’s found. Google your own name and follow the links. Delete old accounts that you don’t care about and make the one you do stand out.

3. Your skills and experience

Think about your industry. Is it one you intend to stay in? If so, where is it headed? How do your skills match up with the trends you see on the horizon? If there are gaps, then get the training you need. It doesn’t have to be an MBA. Many universities, including the likes of Harvard and MIT, offer their lectures online for free. You won’t get be able to have your homework graded, take the exams, or get credit, but you’ll be able to learn what is taught if you want to.

There are also thousands of books on nearly every topic imaginable. Start reading them. A book a month is not too much and, if you’re a leader then it’s the bare minimum.

There are seminars, workshops and conferences that you could attend, too.

Your professional development is your responsibility. By all means, ask your employer for financial assistance or time off, but take the initiative yourself. If you can demonstrate that going will make you more valuable to the company, then you may be surprised at what they give you.

If you lack experience, then start looking for ways to get it. Maybe there’s a lateral position you could take elsewhere in the company. If you’re a member of a professional association, then there may be another member who will let you volunteer in his or her company to get that experience.

4.Your source of advice

There’s no law that says that you have to make it on your own. In fact all successful people had help in one form or another Find someone inside or outside of your organization who can give you good advice. Don’t limit yourself limit to someone who has achieved what you want to. Times change, and that means that you don’t have to pay the same “dues” as anyone else.

5. Your relationships

Make sure that none of what you do in the work “half” is at the expense of the “life” half of the work-life balance. You want your family’s willing support for what you do. Too many people have achieved their work goals and lost their families.

Measure your progress

Einstein once said that “not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.” Make sure that the progress you measure matters, and give yourself enough time to achieve it. Then insure that you make whatever course corrections are necessary to keep you on track. But don’t feel compelled to create a precise metric for everything.

Whenever an opportunity arises to do something, compare it to your goals. If it will get you closer, then it might be worth considering. If it will pull you away, then you have a choice: either turn it down or change your goals. But don’t expect to get closer to achieving your goals by engaging in activities that you know will make it harder for you to achieve them.

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