11 daily habits to increase your career and job search success
Your everyday habits will have a long term impact on your career (and life) and an immediate impact on your job search.
Here are 11 habits to adopt now that will make a big difference for the rest of your life.
1. Get up early. I know. I hate this one too. But, one thing successful people are always said to have in common is that they get up early. This isn’t fair, since there are studies that show night owls tend to be smarter, funnier, and more creative. But the working world doesn’t start at noon. It starts at nine, or earlier. If, like me, you’re never going to be someone who gets up at 6, aim for 8 instead of 11.
2. Make your bed. I already wrote a whole article about this. Making your bed sets the tone for the day and starts you off with sense of pride and accomplishment that will carry over to every other aspect of your life.
3. Make lists. Making a to-do list every day sets your tasks right in front of you, so you know what to expect of your day and of yourself. And crossing each item off continues on the theme of accomplishment carrying over to the rest of your life – it’s incredibly satisfying to see a list that seemed daunting in the morning with everything crossed off at the end of the day. And the ability to tackle tasks grows over time.
4. Tidy up. Being in a mess is overwhelming and depressing. Keep your space as neat as you can. This ranges from person to person. Some will be able to follow Marie Kondo’s example and go full tidy. For the rest of us, I’ve found one thing that has major impact is abundant storage. Place bins, boxes, and things with drawers everywhere. Designate them for certain things – like papers, clothes, unopened mail, miscellaneous crap, so they’re easier to sort through when the time comes. And the clutter is gone. (Unless you live with my husband, in which case it’s a never-ending battle. But that’s neither here nor there, I guess.)
5. Exercise. Cliche, yeah, but nobody ever says “Man, I regret going to the gym.” Working out is good for your body, your mind, your self esteem. You’ll live longer (the only downside to which is that you’ll either have to keep working or have some good investments), you’ll feel amazing, and you will be able to tackle the world.
6. Put a positive spin on life. Don’t complain. If you want to piss and moan about something, try shutting up instead. Also, if something is weighing on you, try shifting your language to remove the burden. Instead of saying “I have to update my resume,” try saying “I get to update my resume,” or, if that’s too Pollyanna-ish for you, just say, “I’m going to update my resume.”
7. Be quiet.
Speaking of shutting up, I talked in a recent article about times when you should do just that. Keep this in mind every day. You don’t need to jump into every Facebook argument or spar with everyone you disagree with. Not knowing when to check yourself is a networking mistake that will cost you dearly.
8. Reply immediately to emails and messages.
I have a friend who keeps her inbox at zero at all times. Not just zero unopened emails – ZERO EMAILS. Can you imagine? Most of us aren’t superhuman, but do your best to deal with communications as they come in. Nobody likes to wait for a reply. It’s rude and insulting. Even worse, if you’re like me, in one hour the thing will have been pushed down your emails queue and you will forget about it forever.
9. Prioritize your tasks.
Multitasking used to be considered a measure of ability. These days, less so. Earl Miller, an MIT neuroscientist, told The Guardian that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.” Prioritize tasks and tackle them in descending order of importance.
10. Read. Successful people read. They don’t watch TV. They read for 30 minutes a day or more (and probably not romances or 50 Shades of Grey). Read.
11. Analyze your results.
OK, I’ve never actually read about a successful person recommending this, but I find it helps keep me from repeatedly doing stupid things (um, sometimes). Whether it’s the job search or the workplace, instead of just blindly plowing forward, at the end of each day, take a moment to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Make a mental note (or a real note, if that works better for you) to continue doing the things that worked, and to adjust what didn’t. if you’re honest with yourself, you won’t repeat your mistakes and you will learn from them.