Sure you want to lose 20 pounds, earn twice as much money, fall madly in love and be named “Web Worker of the Year” — who doesn’t? But in addition to working on these worthwhile endeavors in 2010, how about setting aside some time to pursue some productivity-enhancing pledges as well?
Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of “Managing Your Career For Dummies,” points out that 2009 was a challenging year for most, but the outlook for 2010 is a bit more promising.
“This was a difficult year for many people,” Messmer said. “Even those professionals who have a job should continually look for ways to enhance their marketability and advancement potential, and this starts with defining actionable objectives, timetables and success measures.” Messmer offers the following five career-related resolutions for 2010:
- Play internal auditor. We’ve all heard that it’s a good idea to take an objective look at our skills and identify our strengths and weaknesses, but how many of us have? And even if we do, how often? Make a promise to yourself that in the upcoming year, you’ll pick an area of your productivity that needs probing and polish it. As for me, I’m in the process of (and plan to continue) exploring the way my natural tendency to worry about the worst-case scenario causes me wasted time and energy.
- Learn something new. Increase your professional standing and productive posture by making 2010 the year to become proficient in a new skill. You may want to seek out an advanced certification, study a new software program or take a course to enhance your web worker wisdom. Don’t feel like you have to go whole hog here and earn an advanced computer science degree — simply pick something new to learn and make plans to study it.
- Grow your network and goodwill. 2009 was the year where social networking broke out of the box and became a superstar on the productivity scene. That trend appears to be ongoing, so this coming year, do your part and join a professional association, sign up for a forum or become part of an online network. The contacts you make can provide valuable career guidance as well as keen insights on trends impacting your field and business. One thing to keep in mind: Effective networking is as much about offering to help, mentor and support others as it is about asking for help. Put forth your best foot in 2010 and hold out the hand of help to a customer or co-worker, expecting nothing in return.
- Spiff up your resume. Even in a down economy, opportunities still come knocking. Be prepared to answer. If you’ve fallen into a slump with your resume, take some time at the beginning of this year to update it with your latest and greatest accomplishments. Doing this will help you mentally crystallize what you bring to your current job and prepare you for a job search should the need arise. Georgina offers some additional tips for creating an effective resume here.
- Don’t be a wallflower. Instead of making the upcoming year business as usual, offer to take on projects beyond your job description or participate in or even lead cross-departmental teams. The exposure you gain to different functions and colleagues will enhance your professional marketability and the value you bring to your employer. If you’re a freelancer, stretch yourself by finding projects that will challenge your current capabilities, expose you to new people and ideas and make you more marketable.
As you set and reach milestones in each of these over the course of the year, remember to take the opportunity to acknowledge your success and reward yourself. If you get stuck, just fast-forward in your mind to the end of the year when you’re looking at your rich, thin and in-love self — who just also happens to be a productivity superstar.
What productivity goals are you chasing this year?