It is no secret that many of us have found ourselves pushed to the limit over the last couple of years. We saw countless stories about mental health and financial struggles but also saw the steps that individuals were taking to make things better for themselves.
As we head into spring, there are many reasons to be more optimistic about the year ahead. But many of us are worried about what the next few months may hold and are thinking about how we can get ahead of future challenges. We want to take proactive steps towards improving our professional situation, to make ourselves more indispensable and more employable, to ensure that we have a healthier work-life balance. Here are a few tips to help you towards that goal.
Think About Where You Want To Be
“Where do you see yourself in five years” is one of the most cliched job interview questions, but there is a reason why so many of us hate it: because it can be so difficult to answer. You would need to be supremely satisfied in your current position to answer, “right here,” but if that is not your honest response you should take some time to seriously think about it.
There has been a lot written about how the last couple of years have forced people to think long and hard about whether they are really happy in their jobs, and if you are considering becoming a part of the so-called Great Resignation, then you should think about where you do want to be. Are you simply looking to take your skill set to a different company? Or do you want to start from scratch with a different career completely? Do you want to test the waters of freelance work? Take the time to think about what you want to change, and what you want to achieve by making a change.
Learn Some New Skills
One of the biggest causes of frustration with a job is that you feel like you have hit the ceiling. If you do not have the skills to move into a different area of your business, or you feel like you are starting to lag behind younger colleagues with experience of new tech, leadership skills, technical knowledge or essential soft skills, then of course you are going to feel like you are stagnating. If this applies to you, then you should get proactive and think about upskilling.
Online courses are flexible and can be scheduled around your timetable, which means they’re great for working professions. Online courses can be an invaluable tool in helping you become a more valuable employee and helping you to explore a role – whether that’s in your same company or industry, or a new one entirely. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) online certificate courses cover a wide range of subjects, including a selection of leadership and management courses, from decision-making to negotiation. You could look for short courses covering data management and analysis, managerial finance, or learn about how disruptive technology is changing the world and workforce. LSE online certificate courses make learning accessible for people all over the world, and you can study at your convenience while building a global professional network.
Set Clear Boundaries For Yourself
One of the reasons so many of us reach the point of burnout is because the lines between our personal and work lives have become blurred. It is easy enough to see how this has happened following the move to remote working back in 2020. For so many of us still working from home, it gets harder to maintain the boundary. If you feel like you are simply drifting from your bed to your desk and back again, then you need to think about how you can create some distance between your work and professional life, and create a more positive routine for your day.
If you are still working remotely, then sit down and create a timetable. Resist the temptation to hit the snooze button and make sure that you are getting up early enough to shower and eat breakfast before you start work, and ideally do something that is just for you. Go for a jog or a walk to get some fresh air, or work on a project that is not related to work. You should set a clear time to finish work at the end of the day. Stop checking your work emails and messages once you have signed off and try to work somewhere where you can close the door on your workstation. Do your very best to keep your weekends for yourself. Even if you are back at the office at this point, we are all so much more reachable than we used to be outside of work hours. It is up to you to stay firm on your personal time.
Your Health Cannot Be An Afterthought
Of course, the question of our health goes beyond the issue of burnout. When it comes to mental health, most of us have a much better understanding of how we can take care of ourselves and others than we did a couple of years ago. However, there is always a difference between what we know we should be doing and actually doing it. Try to make sure that you are keeping a watchful eye on your mental health and remember that taking care of your body does go a long way towards keeping your wellbeing in good shape. Getting regular exercise will have an impact, and so too will getting enough sleep. Remember to eat healthy foods and avoid overdoing it on caffeine and alcohol. The foods and drinks that we think of as comfort foods can have a negative impact in the long run.
If you are feeling unsatisfied in your current role and you are thinking about what your next step is going to be, then one of the best things you could do is talk to your line manager. Even if the answer is that there is nowhere for you to move up to at the moment, then you will have shown that you are motivated and looking for how you can have a greater impact on your company. And if you do not like the answer that you are given, then you can think about taking your next step somewhere else.
It is never a bad idea to keep an eye on the job market and set up alerts for the kinds of positions you might be interested in so you’re always thinking about how you can take that next step.