How to Get Focused on Your Career

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Focusing on your career means paying attention to your long-term and short-term goals, and determining how to achieve them. For some people, especially freelancers and people in self-management positions, staying focused on goals can be an important part of getting the job done effectively. Take a look at how to focus on your career by organizing your thoughts, creating long-term and short-term goals and celebrating milestones among other tips and benefits.

How to get focused on your career

Here are some steps you can follow when you want to get focused on your career:

1. First, learn to be accountable

The first step to getting better at being focused is to hold yourself accountable for time management. This is especially important for freelancers but can be said for any role, in any industry. There may come a time in your career where an interviewer asks you about your time management strategies and it’s important to be prepared to answer this question truthfully. There are a large number of tools available to help you manage your time accountably. You can use calendars, project management tools and more.

2. Second, know your limits

It’s important to set boundaries for yourself in order to realistically meet your goals. This is especially true for roles where self-management is important. But no matter your position, you have to know what limits and boundaries make your professional life more successful. For instance, going to bed earlier could be a limit that could impact your energy and productivity in the workday.

3. Third, consider your long-term goals

There are two kinds of goals to consider when learning how to get focused on your career, your short-term and long-term goals. For long-term goals, it is important to set due dates on your goals but make sure you give yourself adequate time to complete them.

Examples of setting long-term goals:

  • Set the longest deadlines out at least a year when considering long-term goals. It’s important to give yourself the proper amount of time to complete your long-term goals.
  • Set important milestones for your career, and celebrate them. Whether 90-days or monthly, it’s important to set milestones and celebrate their achievement. Giving yourself reasons to celebrate can be an important motivator.
  • Block time to set and evaluate goal-setting measures. It’s important to set aside time to review and set new goals. You can determine which goals have expired, changed or been achieved and set more accordingly.

4. Then, consider your short-term goals

It’s also important to consider your short-term goals and how you can achieve them. Make a plan for short-term goals by jotting them down in your notes, or using any number of free productivity apps to track daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Start each workday with a list of short-term goals that need to be completed. Track shorter projects with project management software that is focused on task completion.

5. Finally, create a community

When advancing your career, it’s important to have a support system to help you tackle whatever life throws at you. For freelancers and other self-managing positions, building a community could be essential to having support outside of work. You can create a business community by maintaining professional relationships in your network. Build a community of like-minded professionals who can help you maintain focus in times of need.

Examples for professional networking:

  • Be timely. Arrive on time. While it may be tempting to get there once people have already arrived, it’s best to be on the early side of networking events. It’s easier to find someone to talk to. With people arriving, you’re likely to find someone who hasn’t already paired off in conversation.
  • Avoid a sales pitch. In a networking situation, people want to know what you do, not what you sell. Make sure to create a meaningful elevator speech that highlights what is important about what you do.
  • Ask questions that are easy to answer. Questions are the cornerstone of conversation and active listening, but make sure the questions are appropriate for the setting. Avoid asking very complicated questions that require well-thought-out responses, and instead, stick to more casual rapport-building questions like ‘Tell me your favorite place to take business clients for lunch?’
  • Show passion. If you show that you’re passionate about what you do when networking people will see that shine through what you are saying.

Tips for staying focused

When it comes to completing your goals, here are some things you can do to stay focused in the day-to-day:

List your distractions

If you want to stay focused one helpful tip is to list your distractions. When you do this you identify potential obstacles and can prepare for addressing them in your day. Awareness of what distracts you is important to maintaining focus on important things.

Think about past successes

When you feel like you need to dig deep for motivation, think about your recent successes within your career, job or industry. These smaller successes can be the lift you need to activate your goals.

Do what you love

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing you are going to feel more motivated to complete your goals. Picking a career you are passionate about means carefully considering all the options along your journey, starting with education.

Keep a willingness to learn

If you keep a willingness to learn it will be easier to accomplish milestones that require you to develop education and skills.

Benefits of being focused

Here are some of the benefits of staying focused on your career:

Less stress

When you’re focused, you can better manage your workload, which leads to a reduction in stress. Employees feel stressed when they are running on a tight deadline but can reduce stress when they improve their performance.

Faster, more efficient worker

When you are focused, you work faster and more efficiently which means you will perform better at work and are more likely to get recognized for your strong performance.

Higher quality output

When you do better work your output is also improved, and that impacts your company’s overall performance and bottom line.

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