Tag: Classy Career Girl

How to Have a More Productive Work Week

The following post is from Classy Career Girl, a blog written by Anna Runyan, that provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder. Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking, and office etiquette. Connect with her at http://www.classycareergirl.com. If you would like to learn more about how to find a career that you love to go to every day, you can also checkout her free video training series at http://www.getmycareerunstuck.com.

Who doesn’t want a 4 hour work week? I think the possibility of only working 4 hours a week is probably not possible for most people but there are a lot of great things I learned my reading The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. It helped me prioritize my life and limit myself to only work on the most important items on my to-do list.

Here are some interesting questions to ponder from the book:

  1. If you had a heart attack and could only work 2 hours per day, what would be the most important thing in your day that you would take care of?
  2. If you had a gun to your head and had to stop 4/5ths of the time consuming activities, what would you remove?
  3. What are the top 3 activities that you use to fill your time so you feel like you are being productive? Do you invent more things to do and avoid the important things you have to get done?

(Note: Don’t read this book in your last week of grad school when everything you do is procrastinate studying for finals!)

Because I like challenges, I challenged myself to think about the top 2-3 things that I absolutely had to get done each day this week. I focused on these things and was actually able to complete all of them by noon instead of trying to finish them up at 5pm like I normally would do. This mini-challenge helped me really focus on getting the most important things done before jumping into all of the other things I tend to fill my day with. What was the outcome? Less stress!

Here are more ideas the book offers to improve your productivity. Would any of these work for you next week?

    1. 1. Turn off your email alert and only check email twice per day (12pm and 4pm.) This allows you to focus on the priority items in your day and not get distracted by the new emails constantly coming in.
    2. Grant as much information and independent decision making to your employees as possible allowing you more free time. Give others a chance to prove themselves!
    3. Say no. If you have too much on your plate, don’t add more!
    4. Do not multitask – you will get less done. If you have something you have to do, do it from start to finish without any distractions.
    5. 5. Leave work at 4pm and take Monday and Friday off so you have less time to work. This will actually make you more productive because you won’t fill your time with non-important tasks. I might have to try this one!!

Have a great and productive weekend everyone!

The Three Factors That Can Lead You to a Career You Love

The following post is from Classy Career Girl, a blog written by Anna Runyan, that provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder. Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking, and office etiquette. Connect with her at http://www.classycareergirl.com. If you would like to learn more about how to find a career that you love to go to every day, you can also checkout her free video training series at http://www.getmycareerunstuck.com.

How often have you taken the time to think about what really interests you at work, what has perhaps shaped the career choices you have made so far? Think about those times when you get really absorbed in something, the time flies by doesn’t it? Why is this important? Because it’s all about bringing more of yourself to work. When you really enjoy what you do, you are more likely to perform well and be satisfied with your career. What comes to your mind when you think of career satisfaction?
For me career satisfaction means being connected to a cause. I like to know that there is some real meaning behind my work and that what I am doing is helping everyone with their personal development and this motivates me to continue working and trying to succeed in my work. Other people might define career satisfaction by working with people who empower you and having a greater cause. Also, career satisfaction could be solving problems and filling a gap or reward and recognition. Some examples could be adding value or being interested in your work or working with great people.

All this to say that career satisfaction means different things to different people. Over several decades, countless studies have been conducted to discover what makes people satisfied at work. Research has found that interests, motivators and abilities are the 3 factors that lead to career satisfaction.

Interests
Career interests are the most important of the 3 factors because interests are a part of our core and are stable and they stay with you through your lifetime. The definition of an interest is something that is deeply held that you absolutely connect with – you want to learn more about topics. An example of this is if you really love analysis or new technology. These stay with you throughout your lifetime. My nephew is fascinated by legos and he has an entire room filled with legos. He I am sure will be connected to engineering and building activities for the rest of his life just like his father was because he has an interest in the inner workings of things. My high interests are coaching and mentoring and when I look back at my childhood, I was always helping my group of friends put together goals and since I was the first one to apply to college, I helped all my friends with the application process and test process so that they could get into their dream college as well. What are some interests that you have? Can you see your interests evident in your childhood like I can?

Motivators
Then we have motivators, which can also sometimes be called values. These are the rewards each of us needs. Some examples of motivators are flexibility, lifestyle and intellectual challenge. Motivators are really important to be aware of to make sure you are aligned in a job correctly and it is also important to remember that your motivators can change based on your current life situation. One of my motivators is altruism, which means that I have satisfaction of regularly helping others with their individual and business concerns and this fits perfectly in my role at work as a consultant because I get to help my client.

Abilities
Abilities are your skills – this is what we focus more on in the professional world. But this is just one part – skills are like muscles, you build them up if you must also have an interest in them to want to be satisfied in your career. Some people are drawn to career paths because they have the ability and like the rewards, even though they aren’t interested. After a short period of success, they lose interest and either quit or just work less productively.

So now that you have thought about your interests and motivations and what career satisfaction means to you, how you can apply what we learned today in your future career path?

How I Changed My Career and Life To Make Me Happy

The following post is from Classy Career Girl, a blog written by Anna Runyan, that provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder. Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking, and office etiquette. Connect with her at http://www.classycareergirl.com. If you would like to learn more about how to find a career that you love to go to every day, you can also checkout her free video training series at http://www.getmycareerunstuck.com.

Have you ever felt stuck in a job just because you have to pay the bills? I have. Have you ever realized how debt influences your life and career choices? I have. Have you ever thought that you would do a different job if you didn’t have to worry about your student loan payments? I have.

After a few years, I got sick and tired of having these thoughts so I decided to make some huge changes in my life in order to take control of my career. This month begins a new chapter in my career. But first, here is the back-story:

We paid off $80,000 of Debt in 18 Months.
Seven years ago when my husband and I got married, we decided the best thing to do was take on lots of debt to keep up with the Jones’. We continued to make large purchasing decisions such as buying brand new cars, traveling abroad and refusing to really think about our financial future.

Three years ago I happened to be reading another blog that was about getting out of debt. The writer said she followed the advice from Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover and got out of debt. So I checked it out. When you have lots of debt, thinking about getting out of it is very overwhelming! What I liked about this book is he put it all into baby steps, which just made it so easy! With the advice in this book, my husband and I were able to pile away our income, do as much as possible to decrease our expenses and pay off $80,000 of student loan, credit card and car loan debt in 18 months. (And yes, we did celebrate when we finished). We still can’t believe it and are so happy that we made the choice to work our butts off early in our lives instead of just putting it off until later. I am writing this today hoping that I can inspire just one other reader to take a different path for their financial future just like the other blogger who helped me change my life.

So what does that have to do with my career?
Everything. Without debt controlling your life, you can make life and career decisions that really make you happy. You have nothing hanging over your head nor do you have student loan, credit card and car loan bills piling up to pay. You have savings available for emergencies and you aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck wondering if you will ever have the life and career you dreamed of. Not having to worry about debt allows your mind to open up so that you can really think about what makes you happy and what you really want to do with your life. That is exactly what happened to me.
My husband and I got out of debt in April-12. For the last few months, I have been able to really think about what I want to do for work. I have been able to think about what makes me happy and what type of work fits best for my interests, values and mission in life. I have been able to explore creative work assignments and new career opportunities that I never could have thought about with debt hanging over my head.

So, I decided to take a 50% pay cut.
Yep, that’s right. Last month, I made the bold move of starting a part-time arrangement at work. But, I don’t see this as stepping down. Instead, this arrangement is giving me the opportunity to open up my creative side and apply myself in other places. Since going part-time a few days ago, I have already received another job offer and a teaching opportunity at a University.These things would never have opened if I hadn’t taken the time to evaluate my future career and myself.

I un-trapped myself and other options came flooding in for the other “part-time” of my life.

After this experience, I truly believe that your financial decisions and priorities directly affect your career. If you need to pay bills and students loans, you may continue working at a job that you may not enjoy just because you have to pay those bills. Which is fine! But, set a goal to pay off your debt in the next year or two and then move on to something that makes you happier! Get yourself out of the debt that is clouding your professional future and instead find areas that you will succeed at even more because you are passionate about them. There are so many things you can do if you aren’t worried about paying off your debt. You could travel, start a business, or take a 50% pay cut to explore and evaluate your professional future like I did.

You aren’t trapped. Plan your work around your life, not your life around your work. Are you trapped? How can you start taking steps to untrap yourself?

P.S. If you want to know how I was able to go part-time, it’s really simple. I just asked. That’s it and they said yes. So what are you scared of asking for at work? A raise? A promotion? Just ask. What’s the worse that can happen?

Why Networking is Important

The following post is from Classy Career Girl, a blog written by Anna Runyan, that provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder. Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking, and office etiquette. Connect with her at http://www.classycareergirl.com. If you would like to learn more about how to find a career that you love to go to every day, you can also checkout her free video training series at http://www.getmycareerunstuck.com.

It’s not what you know, but who you know. Who you know can mean the difference in whether or not you end up reaching your future dreams and goals.There are so many reasons why networking is important, personally and professionally. Whether you want to stand out from the crowd during your job search, rise the ranks at your current company or just have a good support network to be there for you when you need it. I know that I would not be where I am today in my professional journey if I had not made networking a top priority in my life when I was graduating from college and as I started working at my first job. Networking helped me land an internship during college that turned into a full time job and helped me get promoted at my first job. I also built a great support network at my church and that network helped me through a tough time that I went through. No matter where you are in life, you can’t get around the fact that networking is crucial to your success and personal well being.

So what are the barriers that might be holding you back from networking?

  1. The first barrier that might be in your way is that you never know what to say. I hate that awkward introduction and I not knowing what to say to people I don’t know. The key here is to be genuine, not think about yourself and what you are going to talk about and instead think about what you want to ask and learn about other people instead. People are just as scared as you in the room and why not make others feel better and take the focus off of you and onto them.
  2. Another barrier may be if you are an introvert. An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. If you are an introvert like me, it is hard to be open and let strangers into your life. To network, you have to be open and curious. You must also show up and be present in all conversations. Sometimes the hardest part is getting to the event but you will be glad you did once you get there. Meet one person and start speaking with them and asking questions. This way, it will be easier to meet others since you know one person very well. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up if you have something to say.
  3. Another barrier is thinking you are way too busy to network. I know I am exhausted after work. This was my biggest pitfall. I am often too busy with work and school to reach out and connect with someone over lunch or a quick dinner. You have to make networking a priority, which is why I always scheduled networking events and meetings into my calendar so that I got in the habit of meeting people for lunch or dinner and not going directly home after work.

How did I get over my networking barriers? It all stated at the beginning of 2011, when I was preparing to graduate from business school and trying to figure out the next step in my career. I knew that networking would be a key to success in the job search, but I also knew I was—and still am—an introvert, and the prospect of meeting new people has never been easy for me. Still, I was determined to knock down my barriers to networking and meet the people who would help me reach my dreams and goals. So I decided to embark on a networking challenge where every month, I would meet with four people I already knew but would like to get to know even better, as well as four completely new people. I called it the 4×4 Networking Challenge.

And at the end of 2011, I added 48 new people to my network and strengthened relationships with 48 friends, co-workers, and family members. Not to mention, a year of networking like crazy gave me a lot of valuable insights on what it takes to be a good networker—something I never thought I’d be able to claim.

If you are ready to reach your dreams and goals and take your networking to the next level, challenge yourself to a networking challenge. Write it down, find an accountability partner and start today!

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