The smartest way to continually boost your career

The smartest way to continually boost your career

Almost everyone wants to grow, develop, and most importantly earn more, but how do we get to where we want to go? Motivational business speakers will tell you that the most important thing you can do to advance your career is to plan for advancement. Laying out goals in a constructive, achievable manner can be the biggest difference between success and stagnation. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to draw up the plan effectively.

Be realistic

One of the most fundamental foundations for achieving goals is knowing that those goals are attainable. Having a master plan of where one wants to be in ten years is laudable, but if you don’t lay out all the intermediate steps between now and then, you may not ever actually get to where you want to be.

Be wary; constantly having to move the goal posts is a sign that your short term objectives are out of reach. Examining recurring setbacks can provide an idea of what changes need to happen in order to make your aims more achievable, or how the objectives need to be changed.

    1. Stay organized

      Woman using a journal to take notes as she works on her laptop

      Mental organization and prioritizing is aided by cleanliness and physical organization. Using desk accessories to keep paperwork filed and supplies contained saves time, and more importantly, energy. It’s distracting to stress over where a given piece of paper is or where supplies are, and doesn’t help you achieve goals. Cut out even little setbacks by staying organized.

    2. Make them visible

      If we’re ambitious, we’ll draw up a list of goals: short-term, mid-term, and long term. But often times, even if these goals are achievable, this isn’t enough. We forget easily, which is why it’s important to have those goals visible in multiple places.

      We need accountability, even if it’s only self-accountability. A planner or appointment book provides us with a way to make sure we are on track on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Setting up our day with our weekly goals in mind, and setting up our week with our monthly goals in mind requires us to stop and review where we at, what we have achieved so far, and what we intend to accomplish by a certain time or date.

      To further reinforce intentions, set up easily visible reminders of what those goals are, both on your desk and on a wall that you are sure to see.

    3. Be versatile

      Woman using cork board to plan her future

      White boards are a convenient tool to introduce into goal making because, unlike a massive poster board, they are easy to rework. For more fluid goals that may be affected by unknown factors, consider using a white board and color-coded markers to prioritize which goals need to be accomplished at what time or to categorize them according to relative importance.

      Another useful tool that’s often paired with white boards are cork boards. Because cork boards are pinnable, we can not only pin items contributing to our daily motivation and goals, but we can keep paperwork that needs more immediate attention readily accessible.

    4. Prioritize by color

      As mentioned above, using color-coded markers helps us achieve our objectives by letting us rank our goals according to various criteria. There are any number of ways one can use color coding. Use a color for everything pertaining to a certain target, for instance. Or, use a different color to indicate tasks that require fulfillment by a certain period of time.

      Washi tape is also useful in keeping paperwork arranged according to importance or priority. Because washi tape is cheap, comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and is easily removable, using it consistently can be a lifesaver in terms of mental organization of tasks and goals.

Wanting to achieve more is almost always an admirable goal. Make it more attainable, not only by having a general idea of how you are going to boost your career, but by having a concrete, specific plan fortified by accountability methods and easily visible reminders.