With so much on your plate during the average week, it’s entirely possible for your professional growth to slip through the cracks. Here’s how to make sure you keep focused on your long-term goals while juggling all your current work responsibilities.
Keep tabs on what interests you
When you find something that sparks your interest, be sure to make a note of it somewhere. Whether you do this electronically, or hand-write it in a trusty planner or notebook, having it somewhere for future reference is crucial.
You never know where this could lead you once you do more research.
Get all the training you can
As author and ethnographer Simon Sinek believes, leaders should always continue to learn. So, getting a promotion doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve learned everything there is to know about your field. Since industries drastically evolve over time, it’s best to stay ahead of the curve.
Read up, and listen to podcasts from people who interest you. Shadow someone in your free time. If your employer doesn’t offer the right resources for you, find other ways to get the answers you want. Take a free online course or enroll in night or weekend classes at a local high school or college.
Make yourself into a resource
Pay attention to what products or experiences your company is pivoting toward.
Carter Cast, author and clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, writes in the Harvard Business Review that you should “become an expert in an area of increasing importance to your company.”
“Your company may be grappling with a disruption from a new technology such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, or cloud-based computing. Become the expert person in your department on an emerging issue,” Cast said. “Conduct research and literature reviews, attend conferences, or write on the topic. Developing expertise in a nascent area of growing importance can lead to promotions and other career opportunities.”
Join clubs and affinity groups
You can learn a lot from people who you share something in common with — whether it’s from your professional or personal background.
Staying involved in groups like this can nurture other areas of your life, and help you expand your professional network.
If you just sit back and take the easy way out — meaning, you do the bare minimum — that’s exactly what you’ll get back from your efforts.
Going above and beyond every once in a while will keep you on your toes and show that a higher level of work can be expected from you.
Cast also writes in HBR that if you don’t have “the willingness to take multiple assignments,” among other factors, it will be difficult to nail down a comprehensive “skill set.”
Find balance outside of work
You’ve definitely heard this from us before: Work should not be your everything. You have a life and talents outside of the office, so it’s important to get back in touch with those parts of your life to break up the monotony of working and commuting.