Mark Jansen Owner at Next Level Resources  Published Aug 19, 2021

Many of us feel stuck in our career and are struggling to move it forward. Maybe you feel burnt-out and it’s showing in your productivity, your attitude towards your work and towards your boss and piers. How do we get unstuck and move out of the rut we may find ourselves in? Here are 10 tips I’ve found the most successful and driven people tend to use:

  1. Set Goals and Create a Career Blueprint. Not setting goals is like trying to get to a destination you have never been to without using a map or GPS and hoping you’ll randomly show up at the right place. Or trying to hit a bullseye with a dart in a pitch-black room. If you don’t have a career plan your career will go off-course.
  2. Track Your Progress Daily and Keep a Score Card. Daily habits matter! Decide what you need to do on a daily basis to reach your goals and track your progress. Develop and keep a daily scorecard. When you complete that task, put a check mark beside it. Or download an app on your smart phone that allows you to check off or swipe once a task is completed. You will feel a small sense of accomplishment and an endorphin rush every time you complete that task.
  3. Find a Mentor or Accountability Partner. When asked by a teenager in an annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting what advice he would give a young person to become successful Warren Buffett said “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction”. And let’s face it. Most of us are too easy on ourselves. That’s why we need to find someone else who can push us to achieve our goals. Find someone that has already had success in the career or business we’re in and ask them how they achieved their success.
  4. Refine Your Craft. Whatever your chosen profession is, always look for opportunities to improve. If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing. The world is constantly changing and if you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind.
  5. Make Strategic Career Moves. Few things can leverage your career more than a smart, strategic career move, and few things can damage your career more than a bad career move. Be smart about your moves, do your research before making a move and don’t make a career move based off of emotion or a whim.
  6. Learn How to Communicate More Effectively. Another piece of advice from Warren Buffet. When given the opportunity the be the Oracle of Omaha’s personal escort for a day the 20-something entrepreneur asked Buffet for a success tip. Buffett immediately said “Invest in yourself. The one easy way to become worth at least 50 percent more than you are now is to hone your communication skills-both written and verbal”. You can have a “500 horsepower” brain full of intelligence and ideas. But without the skills to transmit and communicate those ideas effectively it’s like having a Ferrari sitting in your garage without a transmission. The car is worthless without something to transmit all that power. Your communication skills is your transmission.
  7. Start Your Day By Completing a Simple Task. In Admiral William McRaven’s book “Make your Bed” he emphasizes how completing a simple task and doing it right, such as making your bed every morning, sets up your day to complete big tasks right. It gives you a sense of completion and that small mental trick will help you complete tasks throughout the day. And it doesn’t have to be making your bed. It could be completing an exercise routine or some other simple form of productivity. The point is to start your day off productive.
  8. Increase Your Emotional EQ. Be self-aware. Learn to be able to recognize your emotions as they happen. If you’re able to recognize your emotions and truly evaluate them, you can manage them. Increase discipline and mental self-control. Learn how to stick with something even when that initial newness and excitement wears off. Learn how to manage negative emotions and how long they stick with you. Learn how to see the positive in your everyday life. Avoid disruptive and destructive impulses. And when things unexpectedly change, as they always will, be flexible in handling that change. Learn how to stay motivated. No one can stay motivated 100% of the time. But learn how to keep yourself motivated most of the time. Negative thoughts and emotions will kill your motivation. Even if you are predisposed to having negative thoughts you can learn to think more positively with effort and practice. Stay committed to your goals even when your inner voice is telling you that you’ll never achieve them. Remember, everyone of us has an alter ego that is rooting for our failure. Learn how to shut out that alter ego. Develop more empathy. Learn how to recognize how people feel. This is key for success in your career and in life. The better you understand people’s feelings, reading their body language and the tone of their voice and what makes them tick the better you are able to influence them and meet their needs and wants. Improve your social skills. Learn how to communicate with others better. Yelling and belittling or talking down to others rarely works. You might get them to do what you want, but they will resent you for it. Get them to do what you want with them being happy about it and knowing it’s for their good. Learn how to build strong bonds and trust with people. Learn how to work as and with a team.
  9. Work In Increments While Focusing On One Task. Technology has forever changed the way we work, for better and for worse. We are far more productive today then we were before the days of the Internet, email, and smartphones. However, we are also much more distracted. It is too easy to check and respond to every new email that hits our inbox, check a notification that comes through on our smartphone, look on our social media accounts or mindlessly surf the Internet. The result is our tasks never get done to completion. Or our work output is not near what it could and should be. Write down the task you need to accomplish, turn off your email, move your smartphone away from your desk and stick with that task until it is fully done.
  10. Find Your “Flow”. Have you ever started work on a project that was challenging, but not too challenging, the work was interesting, your environment was calm and peaceful and hours went by without noticing? When that happens, you’re working in “your zone” or you found your “flow”. For most people this rarely happens, which is why our work can sometimes be unfocused, unrewarding, unproductive, and mentally exhausting. But when you are working in our “flow”, the quality of your work product is high because you are hyper focused, the amount of work you are able to accomplish is tremendous and you’re rarely mentally exhausted afterwards. Being aware of how you get into your “flow” will allow you to recreate the environment necessary for you to always find your flow and will lead to doubling your productivity and work quality and prevent you from getting burnt out.

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