What comes to mind when you hear the words; self-care? A spa date? Expensive dinner? Vacation on the beach? All these examples include spending money and that can quickly distract us from taking any action. Luckily, not everything pertaining to self-care needs to be commodified. You can easily take care of yourself by taking up simple zero cost habits that can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. Given we spend most of our lives at work, it makes sense to weave in self-care habits and practices that make our lives easier.
We’ve thus put together a few habits you can pick up, that can boost your overall wellness at work.
1. Establishing boundaries – A major way of doing this, is ensuring you’re not letting work spill over into your personal life, at least not to the extent where 99% of your life is work. As much as you can, don’t be pressured to respond to work emails or answer work phone calls when you’re taking time off for yourself. There’ll of course always be the super urgent moments, but it’s important to ensure that this does not become a constant in your life. If it’s absolutely urgent that you work outside working hours, set aside a time slot where you can do everything expected of you. If this is something you’d prefer not doing at all, it’s important that you communicate it to your supervisor, peers or clients as early on as possible.
2. Take small breaks – Most of us are expected to work 40 or so hours a week, which means we’re required to be productive for at least 8 hours a day. Maintaining a constant state of productivity for 8 hours straight can be difficult, which is why we advocate that you take periodic breaks. If you feel like you’ve been doing something for too long and you’re starting to become unproductive, taking a 10-15 minute break may help rejuvenate your energy and concentration level. You can also decide to switch tasks after the break unless you’re on a really tight deadline.
3. Acknowledge your wins – Patting yourself on the back whenever you achieve something is a form of self-care. Recognizing that your contributions add value and that you matter in the large scheme of things can affirm your sense of self and worth. So don’t be afraid to congratulate yourself, even for the small wins. We encourage you to check in with yourself every once in a while and evaluate your successes.
If you’re reading this as a manager, here is an article we wrote last year highlighting the importance of prioritizing your employee’s mental health and how you can create a conducive culture that ensures their well-being.
What other ways have you practiced self-care at work? Share with us on our social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Are you looking to forge more meaningful professional relationships? LinkedIn might be a good place to start. All you need is a smart device and internet to connect to as many people as you’d like, at the comfort of your living room, or wherever else you prefer. What are some of the ways you can create these meaningful relationships you ask? Here are three tips we highlighted for you that we hope will be helpful.
1. Be specific – As recruiters, we often get a lot of messages from people who are looking for new job opportunities, mostly. Sometimes, someone gets lucky, when we happen to be hiring for an opportunity that they’re looking for. Some have even gotten hired as a result. However, a majority of these messages are usually lacking in specificity. The truth is, just sending a “hey”, “how are you?” won’t do the trick. Especially when your intention is to ask for help from the person you connected to; recruiter or otherwise. LinkedIn is a professional platform, you want to make sure that you’re communicating your need from the get-go. Here is a guiding article with 10 messaging templates you can use to connect to different people.
2. Use common connections – Sometimes, you may need additional help connecting to someone you’re really interested in talking to. A smart way of doing this is using a mutual connection, especially if you know them personally, to help you access this person, which may be more efficient, especially if it’s a pressing matter. Here’s a template you can use if you’re unsure of how to go about this.
3. Utilize LinkedIn groups – There are plenty of groups on LinkedIn that connect individuals who are in similar career paths, or in the same industries. You can use different keywords related to your industry or career path to find them and join them. Here, you can pose questions, share enlightening relevant content, interact with other people’s posts/content, and even find more people to connect with that may be of help in addressing a need you had or connecting you to more people or networks. Make sure you read the group’s rules to avoid doing something that may get you removed from the group.
If you’re specifically looking to get a job through LinkedIn, here’s an article we wrote that can help you land your next job. Have a read and find out how your dream job may just be a few clicks away.
Landing a new job is an exciting chapter in most people’s lives. It brings forth an opportunity to learn new things, form new networks and hopefully, advance your career. The first few weeks of starting a new job can also be scary; you want to make sure that you’re doing your best at your job, while also fitting into a new organization seamlessly, and it’s not always an easy task. So what are some of the mistakes you can avoid?
1. Not seeking clarity on role deliverables and KPIs – Sure, you were hired because of your skills and competencies and you’ve talked over the role several times in the selection process. However, being on the ground doing the actual work is different, and of course, things are always changing in the workplace so every once in a while, you may be required to take up tasks, not in your JD. It is crucial to keep in mind that you will be assessed based on agreed KPIs. If this is not clear from day one, you may find yourself in a difficult situation at the end of your probation being assessed for areas you were not aware you were accountable for.
2. Isolating yourself from the team -Forming new relationships can be difficult for some of us, however, isolating yourself from the rest of the team and only choosing to focus on your work is not a great idea, as you think it might be. Team synergy is a critical element of most organizations’ success, and it’s important that you interact with the team to learn more about what areas you will need collaboration on, accelerate your adaptation into the culture and hey; this is also an opportunity to form new networks, who knows how they may come in handy in the future?
3. Setting unrealistic expectations – Starting a new job can put you under pressure to want to overextend yourself to please your boss, thus making you agree to or come up with unrealistic expectations within a short period of time. Before committing to this, we advise that you understand from your supervisor and the team how long certain tasks or projects have taken so that you don’t set yourself up for failure.
4. Not observing organization culture – Before you decide to do things like you were doing in your old job, or assume that they’re acceptable, take a few weeks to observe and become aware of how work is approached in your new workplace. What values are upheld often? What approaches seem non-negotiables?. Blasting loud music on your portable speaker, having casual Wednesdays or working from home may have been allowed in your previous company but doesn’t mean it’s standard for all organizations. Find out what the norms are, what processes are in place and ask as many questions as you can.
5. Criticizing everything without seeking to understand the context – When starting a new job, it can feel taxing to be trained all over again, on things you feel you already know. Therefore, you may feel the need to criticize the processes of your new organization because you find them tedious, or just different than what you were used to. This may then prompt you to suggest drastic changes that the organization may not be ready for at that particular time. Sure, new ideas are always welcome, however, suggesting them with a “been there done that” attitude comes across as a bit crass. Before suggesting new ideas, aim to learn more about how things have been done, how other team members feel about them and what impact they have on the organization so that you make informed opinions.
Here’s an insightful article with 5 questions you can ask when starting a new job that should help you if you just started working in a new job.
Find more exciting content about all things careers on our Career Happiness Center
In recent years, we have seen companies let go of hundreds, probably thousands of employees because their skills were no longer required. We are in an exciting era where businesses are stretched every day to think about how they can deliver their goals faster and effectively. As a result; technology uptake, process optimization to cut costs, and outsourcing are strategies that will only keep accelerating in the business world.
Unfortunately, for us job seekers, there will be ultimately a huge impact on how we approach work and the skills needed in this futuristic world. So how can you ensure you are ahead of the game and stay relevant in the job market?
1. Unlearning and relearning – With the rapidly changing delivery models, technology adaptation, increased need for creativity and collaboration, there is a strong need to unlearn several skills and mindsets that are becoming irrelevant. And as we drop these, we will also need to adopt a whole new mindset and skillset to thrive in these new workplaces. Self-driven learning will become not a luxury but a significant differentiator between those who meet the changes prepared and those who don’t. Read our article on 5 tips you can use to accelerate your learning with online courses
2. Cognitive flexibility – While multitasking is the ability to switch between different tasks, often effectively, cognitive flexibility is described as the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously by Wikipedia. This article explores 7 ways you can develop your cognitive flexibility, have a read and learn more about this critical skill, and what it means for you and your future.
3. Complex problem-solving – Surprisingly it does seem like the social and economic problems are becoming more and more complex. We are also getting into a phase where change is more urgent to ensure our businesses, and planet survives. To drive value, businesses have to focus more on the human who is the consumer, and as we know the human is a complex being. And how about robots and artificial intelligence. A creative approach to solving complex human and technological problems at work and beyond is now vital.
4. Digital literacy – Ok maybe you don’t need to become the next best software developer. However, can you efficiently and effectively utilize different project management tools at work? How about collaboration tools such as Asana or Google Drive? If you wish to reap the joys of remote working then get your A-game on some of these!
5. Innovation & Creativity – The one key skill we are guaranteed technology will never touch is creativity. How are you developing this muscle? This article further expounds why AI may never match human creativity in a more nuanced way, dig in and research more.
We live you with these two insightful articles for further reading;
– 9 ideas that summarize the future of work (and how you can prepare for it)
– How digital trends are moulding your future workforce (focusing on Africa); relevant to those employed, and employers alike
If you’re looking to learn more about the future of work, Google has plenty more information 🙂
Keep up with the trends and updates this decade, so that you’re not caught unawares. One way to do that is by visiting our Career Happiness Center which we are constantly updating with insightful information on all things careers!
Do you ever hold a mirror up to yourself when you feel stuck in your career? Do you ever wonder what you could be doing wrong that is preventing you from getting to that next level?
Career advancement means different things for different people; it could be a salary increase, a promotion, a new job with more responsibilities, a new career altogether, or, relocating to a different country and widening your intercultural skills.
Obviously, there are external factors that often are not in our control such as the current socio-economic system, a narrow job market, industry trends and so forth. However, we are capable of being in charge of factors such as motivation, discipline, commitment and how we implement the things that will get us to where we want to be.
We will, therefore, be talking about some of the things we can control in this post because if there’s ever been a good time to start being in charge of your career, it’s today.
1. Not seeking out learning opportunities – It’s 2020 and we can’t stop reminding you about The Future of Work and how it impacts our jobs today, in a very accelerated manner whose impact will be even more visible in the next few years. Self-driven upskilling is going to be your armor for staying in the front line of your career and smoothly transitioning through the different phases that may impact your job.
2. Not acknowledging constructive feedback – One of the major ways to self-improve is by utilizing feedback given to us by our supervisors, peers, and even family and friends. It’s important to have a sense of self-responsibility in order for us to critically analyze the feedback we’re given, and take the necessary steps to self-improve. Often, it’s easier to place blame on other factors instead of on ourselves, and this can prevent us from advancing in our careers because we fail to identify areas of growth we can work on. Read more about how to take constructive criticism and why it’s’ important to be accountable at work in this article that we wrote last year.
3. Not acting upon your career plans – It can feel good to talk about our career plans and fantasize about them actualizing. However, acting on them is more important. If you’re aware of where you want to be, don’t keep postponing the execution part of it. Go to that networking event, reach out to that hiring manager on LinkedIn, find a career coach to work with. Whatever it is, the time is now.
4. Imposter syndrome – You know when people congratulate you for your achievements and you resort to attributing it to lady luck or other external factors? Yet you know too well, that you put in the hard work and are actually good at your job? That’s imposter syndrome at work; “the fear of being revealed as a “fraud” or “imposter” who does not deserve the things he or she has obtained in life” (Wikipedia). Imposter syndrome feeds into our self-limitation and makes us feel as though we don’t deserve to thrive in the areas that we do in our lives, including our careers, thus preventing us from taking leaps that will advance it even further. If you’re going through this phase, here’s an article with a few tips on how you can combat it. You can also reach out to us to join our next Imposter Syndrome Master Class:)
5. Not communicating your career needs – If you keep quiet about your needs or fail to ask for help to get to the next level in your career, you’re really not helping yourself at all. If you’re in a job where your needs are not being met, where your expectations are perhaps unclear, you need to voice this. Don’t be afraid to follow up on that connection request you asked for two weeks ago, or ask to be assigned to a project you’re passionate about at work. People are not mind-readers, speak up 🙂
Have you experienced any of these? How have you dealt with them? We’d love to hear from you!
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Do you ever wonder about the things you could be doing that are sabotaging your career? We compiled a list of 5 things we have seen drag people behind in realizing their full potential. If any of these represent you, get out of your own way, now! Or at least, try to.
1. Procrastination – We’ve all been guilty about procrastinating on different things pertaining to our lives. However, when you’re constantly procrastinating on matters to do with your career, you may be digging yourself into a hole, given how it influences a big chunk of our lives. If you’re finding yourself; postponing updating your CV, updating your LinkedIn, reaching out to person A that might connect you to person B or not going to X networking events like you wrote down in your career resolutions, you need to re-evaluate why this is the case and make necessary changes. This article offers insight on why we procrastinate and how we can stop
2. Not investing in your personal growth – The world is constantly changing; technology is evolving every day, organization needs are changing, and adaptability remains a KEY prerequisite in thriving in today’s workplace. Further, investing in personal growth increases your self-awareness and advances your ability to know what you need at different stages in your career. Investment is not always synonymous with money, it could mean investing your time to take up a free online course, listening to a podcast, reading an article, and so forth. With the speed at which we’re now able to consume content, make sure you’re also setting aside time to consume content that will further your career development.
3. Refusing to get out of your comfort zone – Resisting change, because you’re comfortable with what feels familiar to you can greatly stagnate your skills and knowledge. Meaningful career development calls for uncomfortability; getting that promotion requires you to put fear aside and talk to your boss, changing jobs requires you to approach strangers on LinkedIn and ask for help, feeling stuck may require you to work with a Career Coach and so forth. Often times, our career development is hinged on us taking the first step.
4. You’re always blaming external factors – Do you find yourself often pointing fingers at others or external factors when things are not going great in your career? Have you received a couple of warning letters and still feel like it was unfair? Do ALL your job applications get rejected at a certain stage and you blame XYZ? Sometimes, it’s critical to look at ourselves inwardly and ask how we are failing ourselves from succeeding. Maybe you’re not very good at receiving feedback and acting on it to self improve, or maybe your interview skills are not great and you don’t answer interviewers questions adequately thus the consistent rejections at that stage. Read our article on how 5 ways you can become accountable at work. Hopefully, you gain some insights that apply generally as well.
5. You’re afraid to ask for help – If we’re being completely honest, pride is up there as a reason as to why people don’t ask for help when it comes to their careers, and other things. That, in addition to comparing ourselves to the achievements of our peers, thus being afraid to seem weak in front of them. Career progression is full of complexities, and often at times, we can’t do it alone. We need a support system, an accountability partner, and networks that can connect us with other networks that can help us push our dreams a step closer. If you’re job hunting and are afraid to ask for help, here is an article we wrote about how to ask for help when job hunting and what not to do.
If you saw yourself in any of the above points, or all of them, know that it’s never too late, and you can still take charge of your career. If you’re confused and don’t know what to do first, reach out to us today!
Sign up to our Career Coaching Program http://bit.ly/careertransformation_signup and transform your career, with the right tools and support.