If you have lost sight of your goals and your energy is dispersed in too many directions, here are 30 ways to gain clarity and to get back on track.
1. SWOT yourself. Review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities (within your company, your market, your operational focus and your industry) and threats.
2. Identify your goals. Determine short term and long term SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals.
3. Recognize your gifts. Leveraging your competencies will differentiate your professional brand and infuse your work with your own unique approach.
4. Upgrade your skill set. Attend WICT and other industry seminars, take part in a webinar or leverage other vehicles upgrade your career tool box just as you upgrade your technology.
5. Invest in your career journey. Commit your resources (your time, energy, creativity and everything at your disposal) along with those available from your company, your WICT Chapter and your industry needed to achieve your goals.
6. 80/20 Rule: The 80/20 rule suggests that most results come from a small portion of effort, and that most of our energy is spent on things that aren’t ultimately all that important. Focus on what matters.
7. Start with the most important things. Each day, identify the three or four most important things that must get done and do them first.
8. De-Brief Yourself. After every call, meeting, project, training opportunity, make a few notes about how it went, what you would have done differently, what you learned, etc.
9. Make Use of Down Time. Keep a list of small, 5-minute tasks and make use of your down time before meetings, during flights, sitting in traffic, etc.
10. Make incremental progress. Set aside time every day or week to move your big projects incrementally forward.
11. Set Benchmarks. Your benchmark is your minimum acceptable result. Set both to recognize progress even if you fall a little short of the goal you want to achieve.
12. Select your company. Surrounding yourself with positive people who support your success will add to your energy rather than deplete it.
13. Write down your goals. Writing down your plans makes them concrete, and it’s more likely you will attain them.
14. Write down everything else. Don’t rely on your memory, write down everything you might need to refer to so you won’t forget.
15. Make it easy. It can be challenging working toward large goals. Make it easier by removing barriers. Eliminate anything that provides you an excuse to avoid working towards your goals.
16. Know Yourself. Become aware of the triggers that motivate you (embrace them) and those that set you back (avoid them).
17. Simplify the big goals. Break down large goals into smaller, individual steps that are easier to accomplish.
18. Unclutter. Organize your work areas so that you can easily access what you need, when you need it, without breaking the flow of your work to find it.
19. Take stock. Identify the tools you need to keep on track toward your goal: a particular space, filing strategy, blackberry, computer, e-mail box, voice recorder, etc.
20. Keep a Successes File. File notes and emails congratulating or thanking you for your successes and jobs well done as a reminder that you can (and do!) accomplish something every day.
21. Make an Appointment with Yourself. Schedule a meeting with yourself every week to review your progress towards your goals and your next steps.
22. Get 8 hours. Sleep is essential to achieving your goals. Get at least 8 hours a night.
23. Visualize. In as much detail as possible, visualize yourself having accomplished your goals. What does it feel and look like? Next, visualize yourself taking the steps you need to take to get there.
24. Become a Time Manager. Be accountable to yourself and keep track of how much time you spend working towards your goals.
25. Just say No. Learn to say “no” to commitments, interruptions or anything that deters your focus from your priorities and goals.
26. Mirror Mentors. Ask your mentors how they accomplished their goals and you may discover habits, tricks and tools that you can apply to reaching your goals.
27. Go Backwards. Stuck at an impasse? Start with your end goal and work backwards, identifying the final step you have to accomplish to reach it. Continue to move backwards until you reach something you have already accomplished.
28. Make a To-Don’t List. Become aware of habits that lead you to become unproductive (hallway chats that never seem to end), and make a list of those things not to do.
29. Consider a partner. Partner with a colleague who is also working towards a goal, and help each other focus and build momentum from each other’s successes.
30. Find the fun. If you are working on a difficult or distasteful task, find some aspect to enjoy. For example, if you dislike organizing your work area, play your favorite music while you are doing it.