Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are five New Year’s resolutions that people should make to better their careers in the upcoming year? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
- Stop putting off important things that can be handled swiftly. I’m a procrastination machine (most of us are), and there’s always one damn thing at any given time that I’m putting off. Often it’s something preposterously easy to accomplish, like taking 30 seconds to respond a particular e-mail. Every time I look at my inbox and see that e-mail waiting for me, I tell myself “I’ll get to this later today”. Well guess what? If you push something off to “later today” 15 times on a row, next thing you know it’s two weeks later and you’re an unresponsive asshole. If it can be done in 5 minutes or less — and especially if you’re the bottleneck to other people’s work — do it immediately.
- Read more broadly from outside your industry. Read less from within your industry. Reading industry news is helpful up to a certain point, but it loses its utility fast once you’re up to speed with your average peer group. Beyond that point, you can succumb to the echo chamber of derivative thinking, navel-gazing, and hero-worship if you merely spend all day listening to industry insiders and talking heads. Spend more time reading widely, taking in perspective from people doing completely different things in completely different fields. This will help you think more synesthetically (i.e. creatively).
- No more starchy carbs at lunch. I don’t know about you guys, but every time I eat a burrito / sandwich / quesadilla / etc. for lunch, I’m drowsy and scatterbrained until at least 2:30. You may be different. But opting for a salad or some sort of meat + vegetables dish instead of anything with bread has made a huge difference in my afternoons.
- Use LinkedIn to reconnect with your past coworkers, classmates, friends, and acquaintances.