I have to confess: I had so much fun writing that previous post, Boost Your Career Trajectory, that I am immediately following it up with Part 2.
As you probably remember, I wrote about increasing your level of productivity and success with skills and abilities that are general: that can be useful regardless of the specifics in your work and your life.
Let’s continue in the same vein, as follows:
Thoughtfulness in decision or action is a valuable trait that can help you in a wide variety of situations. For one thing, deliberation helps you focus on what’s most important to you, which is the foundation of putting your time and energy where it will do you the most good.
In addition, deliberation gives you a better chance to understand a situation, analyze the forces at work and the opportunities available, and choose a course of action that’s most likely to produce a satisfying result. The opposite approach – shooting from the hip – is easier, faster, and less likely to get you where you want to go.
What’s something great about snowballs? If you roll them downhill, they grow larger by themselves.
This is a metaphor for actions, plans, programs, and movements you can initiate or support that will produce larger and larger benefits with minimal effort on your part. I’m talking about:
- Financial investments that will grow as time goes by.
- Clubs and groups of people who will sustain themselves and do good work or create enjoyable opportunities beyond your personal capabilities.
- Educational attainments that will catapult your career trajectory, knowledge, or skill set to higher levels for many years to come.
- Relationships and partnerships that will augment and complement your personal capabilities.
The idea here is to get these actions, plans, programs, and movements started as early as you can, so you will have longer-lasting opportunities not only to benefit from their existence, but for those benefits to snowball as time goes by.
I just mentioned education in the previous section, but I’m calling it out here in a more general sense: the ongoing accumulation of information, experience, and understanding you can gather from everyday occurrences, interactions, and events.
The key to this kind of continuous learning is an open mind. If you think you already know everything, or if you think someone or some situation has nothing to teach you, you’ll be right. Your information, experience, and understanding won’t grow at all.
But if you recognize that everyone may have something to share and teach that could be valuable to you, and if you approach every situation as an adventure into the unknown – which it is because we can’t actually predict the future – you’ll very often be exposed to some valuable information, experiences, or understandings to recognize and remember.
There’s an ongoing debate between those who believe people can “multitask” – do more than one thing at a time – and those who believe multitasking is really just sequential activities that only appear to happen simultaneously.
It doesn’t matter. Prioritizing is even more important than either of those. It’s the simple act of putting your time and energy first toward your most important tasks, projects, and goals.
You can also prioritize within categories, such as identifying the most important items in your personal life, in your work life, in your health regimen, and so forth.
If you do nothing else different, prioritizing will greatly increase your level of productivity and success.
Work to Your Strengths
Years ago, a concept called Biorhythms was briefly popular. It’s the idea that your physical, intellectual, and emotional powers vary over time. It counsels that you should be aware of these cycles so you can schedule your tasks, projects, and goals to draw on these capabilities as often as possible when they are near their highs, rather than near their lows.
I have no opinion as to whether or not the “regular cycles of capability” concept makes any sense. But I do know I have days when I am smarter and other days when I’m stupider, days when I’m more sensitive to others and other days when I’m less so, periods when I’m more – or less – strong, active, motivated, clever, agile, and so forth.
All my capabilities are continuously varying. Although I can’t always schedule myself so I’m using each capability only at its peak, I can make some effort to adjust my schedule to accommodate my fluctuating abilities.
As crude examples, I try doing my taxes when my math skills are at their highest, and I try to start new projects when I’m feeling upbeat and enthusiastic.
As you can see, these ideas – like those in Part 1 – apply to almost any work, any career, any activity. By using them judiciously and consistently, you’ll boost your career trajectory and make better progress toward the work and the life you fervently desire.
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