Here are the 5 basic yet important habits for career success:
1. Get Organized
Regardless of your work, you need to get organized. If yours is office work, you will surely have filing to do. What about your emails, your electronic documents and folder system? Ever had colleagues who ask you to resend them the email you sent last week? No matter how many times you sent, they seem to have deleted it or lost it? And it is the same thing with electronic documents?
When you organize your clutter, work space and computer, you become more productive. You become efficient and effective. This adds to your good name as you progress in the organization. It is also a good habit to cultivate as you move up the corporate ladder. Imagine having more work to organize as you progress?
2. Manage Your Time
This is another simple and obvious habit amongst the habits for career success list. But I assure you; this habit is some of the biggest weaknesses people have in the corporate world. I urge you as a career newbie to start cultivating this habit of managing your time early.
Managing your time isn’t rocket science. Start with a simple to do list and a daily, weekly, monthly and year scheduler. All you have to do is to pen in all the meetings, appointments and tasks in the scheduler. As you get better you can start to use more sophisticated techniques. Managing your time is all about planning what you do and doing what you plan.
3. Under Promise, Over Deliver
As a career newbie, you would have a tendency to try to impress your bosses, colleagues or even clients. This can be driven by your raw enthusiasm. However, remember that in your quest to impress, you run the risk of destroying what little reputation you are starting to build. This is especially so when you fail to deliver on your promises regardless of how small. It could be a simple report your bosses asked but if you fail to deliver it on time, the size of the report doesn’t matter. Fact remains that you did not deliver.
Always remember that one of the important habits for career success is to under promise and over deliver. It is about managing expectations and it is about measuring your own strengths and weaknesses. It is also about knowing how to manage your own time. So, while volunteering for additional tasks is a good initiative, you may want to gauge if you can live up to that promise.
Under promise and over deliver means to say “yes” when opportunities present themselves and learning to say “no” when you know you cannot deliver.
4. There Are Always Next Steps
There are always next steps after meetings. Never let any meetings end without a clear action plan that include who to do what by when. We attend far too many meetings in order to let them slip by without clear next steps to follow through. Having clear next steps ensures you become more productive and time is well spent in meetings.
Meetings are important to assign, brief and clarify. You should not let them slip by without clear next steps. If you are chairing one, makes sure this happens. If you aren’t then ask for your set of next steps. This is one of the basic habits for career success you would bring with you for a very long time.
5. Feed Your Mind
Read motivating books; listen to tapes and watch inspiring movies. We are sometimes so inundated with negative vibes at work that you should feed your mind with positive energy. One way is through books, tapes and movies. They need not be self-improvement and self-help oriented although I find them extremely useful.
Of course, a healthy body is important too. Eat healthily and exercise. This ensures you have the energy to take the work-week with a healthy body, mind and soul.