Career resolutions for a happier life in 2018

The talent source

Many people think that the key to work-life balance is to put “career” into its own neat box. By separating work from life, we believe we’re limiting the ability of one to trample over the other.

The problem is, they’re intrinsically linked. Our work IS our life, and not because we want to spend 18 hours a day behind a desk. Rather, if we’re unhappy with what we do as a profession, it has a nasty habit of spilling over into who we are. It affects all areas of our life, whether we want it to or not.

The solution is to find a career we’re happy in. But it’s also about developing small habits that make career and work gel together more harmoniously.

Here are four career resolutions that put work and life together on an even keel, for a happier you:

1. Leave work on time, every day
We are working more overtime than at any point in history, and 40% of us are unhappy at work. Danes, on the other hand, are culturally conditioned to leave work on time every day, and consistently rank as the world’s happiest workforce. Staying glued to your desk long after home time will do no favours to your productivity. To the contrary, research shows that tendency onwards presenters is toxic, and makes us physically sick.Leaving work on time is a tough call in the current climate. It requires both efficiency, and (sadly) a bit of gall. Try not to procrastinate, instead keep the pace up; plan your tasks carefully, and get them done. Set your phone alarm for 5.30pm, then leave. No apologies, no skulking.The more you do this, the easier it’ll become. Better still, you’ll blitz the residue exhaustion that makes you procrastinate and run late in the first place

2. Plan adventurous weekends
For ultimate career happiness, your off time is as valuable as when you work. It’s easy to fall into the habit of flopping at weekends. We all have hectic jobs and that duvet is just so warm and tempting, right? But the allure of hibernating with Netflix has a limited shelf life. Too many weekends on the sofa can leave us feeling a bit sluggish and empty. At its worst, binge-watching TV is also linked to higher levels of anxiety and stress.Far better to plan in an action-packed break every six weeks or so that will dazzle your senses. This could be anything from hiking in Snowdonia to glamping in Finland or paddle-boarding on Lake Bled. Ideally, it will involve learning a new skill – something that is an elixir for self-confidence and happiness (even if you’re crap at it).A short, sharp adventure break also facilitates flexible thinking, leading to greater creativity at work.They say a change is as good as a rest. By regularly leaping out of your comfort zone, you’ll stay refreshed at work. You’ll also remind yourself of the world beyond the office, and your ability to learn skills within it

3. Stop caring so much
Workplace apathy is a sure sign you’re unhappy with your job, whereas hard work can bring happiness. Being efficient and ploughing through your to-do list will also ensure you get out of the door on time (see point above).That said, you need to make sure you don’t work *too* hard. Perfectionism can be harmful. Generally, the people with a good-enough attitude in the office will be happier than those who spend most of their lunch breaks trying to re-work the wording of an email.“These are the pressures you place on yourself,” Dr Jessamy Hibberd, co-author of This Book Will Make You Calm, tells the Guardian. “For example, checking and rechecking work, spending too long on each task, taking work home and setting excessively high standards.“Rather than caring about everything, choose what’s most important and let go of the pressure on the things that don’t matter to you so much,” she adds.Use the 80/20 rule to help with this. This stipulates that 20% of your input will be responsible for 80% of the results. It’s a truism that applies to all areas of life. At work, you can use it to concentrate on the few, bigger tasks that will make the most significant impact on your performance. Couple this efficiency with not caring so much about every little detail of your job, and you’ll be heading west on the highway of work-life happiness. Get your tasks done without dwelling, take lunch breaks and leave bang on time, no apologies.

4. Be the master of your own ship
Autonomy – the ability to act on your own accord, and in line with your sense of self – is a vital element of happiness. In business, this doesn’t necessarily mean being self-employed.Instead, you should drop the “me versus corporation” mentality. You are not a tiny cog in a huge wheel, but instead someone who is entirely in charge of their own destiny. You don’t owe it to anyone to be in a particular job, no matter how great the title or salary.Whether you take a sabbatical, regularly change careers or stay forever in pursuit of your “why”, it’s important that you regularly ask yourself what drives you at work – and stay true to that (bearing in mind it may well change over time).This kind of self-determination has nothing to do with making the impact you want to make. Once you’ve done that – and a job has given you all it can – you can decide whether to move on. Mentally, in this scenario, you’re self-employed: you’re doing whatever it is that makes you happy or fulfilled, and limiting the influence of whoever you work for. That part is almost incidental.Steer your own ship and the rewards will roll in, even if it is a little bumpy along the way.

As we getting geared up for coming 2018, don’t lose yourself to the busyness of each day and end up in exhaustion and not achieving your ultimate goals. Make your New Year Resolutions about truly living your life and leaving your legacy so the world is a better place. Whatever it is you choose to do, everyone can all make a difference.

‘Our Talents, Your Balance’

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