While pursuing research for my book, I interviewed over 150 women around the world. Many of these career changing women went from working in an organization to starting their own business. According to Women’s Financial Network, twice as many women start their own businesses as men. Whether the entrepreneurial spirit is alive in you or not, the women I spoke with shared these successful habits that have empowered them to achieve their career goals and be productive at work by working smarter.
Network before you need it. Successful professional women have embraced the power of positive relationships and use strategic associations to generate business, gather information, and build community. Whether you are seeking out information, or new clients, getting out there and meeting with people will make you visible and accessible. In addition to sharpening your communication skills, meeting with people gives you a chance to pay-it-forward to others to make sure that networking is a two-way street.
Cultivate your organizational skills to achieve your goals. As little as 20 minutes a day can be enough to focus on your daily tasks to develop a plan about what you want to accomplish. Make a manageable to-do list and keep your work space (and car) organized and clutter free. Use a system that works for you to manage and maintain your calendar, finances, and contacts so you can set realistic time frames to accomplish your goals. Organization can equal productivity and allow you to spend your free time doing more of what you really want since clutter takes precious time away from spending your non-work time as you wish.
Keep learning! You need not only add full degrees to your credential list to expand your knowledge and earning power. Take advantage of certificates, online classes, webinars, and short term courses to give yourself a competitive edge in your field. Professional development should be a lifelong pursuit and one that you enjoy.
Creativity and innovation are among the most desirable skills in the workplace. Use the creative strategies you may employ at home to solve issues at work and remember that innovation can give you an edge over the competition. Adapting to change and dealing with unexpected challenges translates very positively in the professional arena so get those creative juices flowing to solve problems and come up with solutions on the job.
Relax and reflect to gain perspective and improve your productivity. A brief time out and a chance to get away from the work environment may be just the ticket you need to gain a new perspective about your life and your work. A lunch time walk, an off-site coffee break or a weekend away may be exactly what you need to change your pace and give yourself a chance to reboot and gain insight into the challenges you face.
By setting goals and rewarding yourself for accomplishments you will be more in control of your career destiny. Have faith in your abilities and embrace new opportunities and challenges with humble confidence. Cheers to you!