These days, New Year’s resolutions seem like a thing of the past as February rolls around. All the newbies disappear from the gym, fast food replaces home-cooked healthy meals, and all the books you bought to read sit on the nightstand in favor of scrolling through social media on your phone.
When it comes to your career though, you can’t afford to let your aspirations fall by the wayside. If you’re not willing to #RiseAndGrind, someone else out there is. That promotion you wanted will go to the one who put himself out there showed off new skills, while you were hunkered at your desk doing the same-old, same-old.
It’s officially time to take charge of your professional life, follow these 7 simple rules and take your career to the next level.
1. Get Enough Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting enough sleep helps you stay focused, recover from distractions, improve your memory, and prevent burnout at work. Getting enough sleep will help to properly prepare for your day ahead, getting you ready to take on an challenge that might arise. Also, this isn’t college anymore—that used bed you bought on Craigslist after moving out of the frat house isn’t doing you — or your back — any favors in the sleep department. Get you a new, comfortable mattress for seven to nine hours of quality shut-eye.
When you’re thinking about how to succeed in your career, exercise seems like a strange thing to focus on, unless you’re an athlete or personal trainer. Like getting enough sleep, exercise gives you more energy to get things done. Harvard Business Review recommends working out—during your workday, even. You don’t have to hit the gym like a demon, though. It’s not about gettin’ jacked AF, it’s about staying fit, alert, and performing at your best. Though making yourself look good helps, too.
3. Learn New Skills
No matter how good you are at your particular job, learning new skills always adds value. Take a class on how to better use Microsoft Excel; ask to cross-train or shadow with employees you admire from other department; or see if your company reimburses tuition for night-school business classes. Check out free seminars on different business verticals, most importantly, if you get an opportunity to show off what you’ve learned in front of important people. That certainly won’t hurt either.
4. Update Your Resume
Professional growth means keeping your resume up to date—even if you’re not planning on switching jobs anytime soon. Add those new skills you’re learning and any certifications you pick up along the way. You should also have at least three people check over your resume for formatting errors and typos. You can have all the qualifications in the world, but a simple spelling or grammar error can cause your resume to go from top of the heap, to bottom of the circular file in no time.
5. Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles
Not just LinkedIn, either. Sure, you want to make sure your LinkedIn matches your resume and has all your qualifications and certifications up to date, but you also want to make sure you’re professional on your personal social media profiles, too. That article your racist uncle posted to your Facebook page, your attempts to holler at Rihanna on Twitter, and your shirtless drunk boat pics on the ‘gram may not be work-related, but know for sure that HR’s gonna see what you’re all about outside the office too.
6. Apply for a New Job
You’ve tidied up your resume and scrubbed your social media clean. Now you can apply for a new job. Even if you’re happy with your current position, applying for bigger and better roles, within your company and at other companies, is good practice that can lead to opportunities you didn’t even know you had.
7. Schedule Everything
How will you have time to do all this? The number one piece of career advice successful people recommend is to make a schedule and stick to it. Elon Musk of Tesla schedules his entire day in five minute blocks so that no time is wasted. You don’t have to get that granular with it. What’s important is putting everything you want to get done in a given day in your schedule, including time with family and friends, time to work out, and time to read and learn, along with all of your workday tasks.
Today’s world is growing and evolving at a rapid pace, and you better be ready to keep up with it. Prepare yourself for the task ahead, sleep well and take care of your body, keep your resume up to date, and stay organized. Doing even these simple things can help transform your career, keeping you engaged, challenged and fulfilled in your current professional role.