The Business Optimizer team reviews our archives to bring you our ultimate guide to the top ten factors that could boost your career.
We recognise that there are many success factors in anyone’s career – but there are some universal good habits which you can nurture that will help to boost your career success. Here’s a pick of some of our favorites.
Humility is often underrated in the workplace. Not so for the legendary author Lao Tzu, who wrote about the Tao-Te-Ching foundation of the philosophical system of Taoism. He said, “avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
What’s more, leaders who practice humility – whether by asking their team for their opinions, accepting customer feedback or celebrating the achievements of team members – encourage their teams to feel empowered and validated.
The Business Optimizer team is a big fan of the power of the question. Asking the right question at the right time can unlock deadlock and reveal new opportunities.
Curiosity helps us to accept that we will fail occasionally – and to remember that these are often the times when we learn the most. By encouraging curiosity, you help to foster a culture of learning and continuous improvement where everyone can improve.
Steve Jobs was a big advocate for being passionate about what you do. The Apple entrepreneur and visionary argued, “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
While today’s agile approach to business advocates a “fail fast” approach to learning and trying out new ideas, there will always remain a place for perseverance.
To understand this, we can look to inspirational leaders of the past like Helen Keller and Dr Martin Luther King. They were committed to the path they were on and assured of the righteousness of their position and used this faith as a motivator to overcome the obstacles others put in their way.
In King’s most famous speech, he rousingly said, “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
Productivity was the crisis that consumed our attention before COVID. Then the pandemic created a whole new raft of productivity challenges. One good thing to come out of the last few years is the realisation and acceptance by business that working from home can be just as productive as working in the office – something the Business Optimizer team has been championing for a long time!
The other thing that the pandemic has taught us is that, if you are working from home, it’s more important than ever to find a good way to switch off at the end of the day. Plus, there’s the advice of productivity guru David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, who says, “the easiest and most ubiquitous way to get stuff out of your head is pen and paper.”
A lack of sleep can act as a terrible brake on productivity. A lack of sleep can also be detrimental to our creativity. Worse, if left unchecked it can lead to mental health issues and burnout. We know our brain needs breaks in order to ensure we’re performing at our best; sleep helps us concentrate and, ultimately, be more productive.
That’s why nurturing good sleep habits can have a huge impact on your success at work.
Experts recommend establishing habits at each end of the working day that – even when working remotely – signal a shift between work and home life. For many of us, that might be the daily commute. For others, it might be scheduling half an hour to enjoy a favourite hobby – gardening, yoga or reading perhaps?
A YouGov/Croner poll report found that only one in three workers take their full vacation leave entitlement. This is worrying because research has shown that vacationing is the best relief for your health, your stress levels, your creativity and your productivity.
Worse, today’s “always on” world of social media and mobile devices is making it harder for people to switch off when they are away. Time reported that 60% of respondents to one of its surveys said they continue to work remotely while on vacation.
It’s important to remember that you aren’t getting the full benefits of your vacation – it simply isn’t a proper vacation – if you’re taking your work away with you. Use your vacation time wisely: it’s a bad idea to work intrude on the time that will enable you to return to work refreshed and full of new creativity and vigour.
If you’re still not convinced, check out these 12 warning signs that you need a break from work.
The challenges of our “always on” digital world also present problems when it comes to blue sky thinking and large pieces of creative work.
That’s why some of the world’s top leaders advocate time blocking – an approach of scheduling specific time to focus on a particular challenge without interruption. This allows them to enter the “flow state” which leads to better and more creative output.
The Business Optimizer team are big advocates of taking paper notes – as are luminaries such as Richard Branson and Hillary Clinton. Taking notes on paper has been shown to bring greater focus, memory and understanding to the task at hand. Read our article about why we love paper planners to find out more about these benefits.