November is here(!) and that means that the holidays are almost upon us. I don't know about you, but I swear that time keeps moving faster and faster. Before we know it, it'll be 2014 and we'll look back upon these next two months in a haze of confusion, wondering if they ever really happened or if we simply dreamt them up one cold wintry evening. The point being that, while the holidays are usually the most fun, celebratory, and romantic of months, they can also be hectic, tension-filled, and overwhelming. And that sort of breakneck pace can affect not only your personal life, but your professional one as well. It's all too easy to lose site of the track and run your career right off the rails during the holidays. But it doesn't have to be that way. So, what can you do to keep everything copacetic? Let's take a look at five easy tips to keep you on the up and up...
It’s no exaggeration to say that as awesome as the holidays are, they come with a certain amount of pitfalls. Diets are in jeopardy, curfews are blown, and budgets are pushed beyond their limits. It just goes with the territory, and we all seem to understand the rules by now. But, one thing that seems to happen every December that can have an averse effect on your life and career is overextending yourself or, as I like to call it, developing “Yes Man Syndrome.”
Let’s talk about your career investments. Now, hold on just a second — I’m pretty sure that frowns just popped up on a number of faces out there, right? And I get it. “Investment” is not exactly an inspiring word, is it? For most people, the word tends to feel buttoned-up and business-y. It’s the sort of word your parents — or even your grandparents — use. But, if you look at the actual definition of “investment,” this is what you’ll find: 1) The process of investing money for profit; 2) an act of devoting time, effort, and energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result. Profits and results? Come on, that’s something everyone can get excited about!
If I were to ask you to define YOUR business, what's the first thing that comes to mind? I’m sure that many of you would immediately think about your craft and, as artists, it’s probably a natural instinct to go there. So, your craft is your business, right? Well...not exactly. See, as an artist, you obviously couldn’t have a business without your craft — your business exists because of it. And, making sure that your craft is in top form is definitely imperative to running a successful business. But it can be too easy to get so wrapped up in your craft that you forget about the business side of your career all together!
So, summer came and went and hopefully you have a nice tan to show for it! I, for one, love back to school season! Even though I’ve been out of school for more years than I’d like to admit (☺), I still get flushed with excitement for fall — the season churns up a wave of energy and focus that I can ride all the way through to the winter doldrums. It helps that our industry experiences seasons too. There’s a freshness to this time of year, a feeling of new beginnings. So, whether you had a productive summer or you decided to slow down, it’s time to get back in the game and play full out. But, do you have a plan?
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting fresh and begin blitzing every area of your career with busy work — it makes you feel like you’re doing something. But, doing something for the sake of doing it isn’t going to get you much further than feeling stuck, unfocused or overwhelmed. Putting together a plan will focus your attention and help you work more efficiently, which ultimately means that you’ll be working smarter, not harder.
As you get back to work, here are a few tips to help you get into the swing of things and start moving forward…
5 quick tips to get your game plan ON!
1. Make a list of everything you DID accomplish for your career this summer: It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you didn’t do enough, so give yourself a little pat on the back for the things you did you — you’ll feel that much more motivated to keep working, trust me!
2. Make a date with your schedule: Set aside a couple of hours to sit with your calendar and really evaluate where your time is going — figure out what’s working and what isn’t. I can’t tell you how many people have never done this simple step and are surprised by what they find. Remember, it’s all about making your time work for you.
3. Do one thing you’ve been thinking/planning/talking about doing but haven’t yet: C’mon, I know you have something that you’ve been holding out on. I dare you to do it this week, before more time passes. Let it be successful just by taking the initiative instead of focusing on the result. See if that helps you get out of your head and into action.
4. Go to one networking event: Sitting at your computer and putting your plan together is obviously valuable, but you also need to get out there in the world so that you can be IN the business. After all, if you’re not connecting with the people in your industry, how can you expect to work with them? Commit to one networking opportunity, whether it’s a seminar, a class, or a party. Get out there and share yourself with the world!
So, shake off the summer rust, pack up your swimsuits, and get ready to make things happen, because school’s back in session, and so is your career. Make a plan, work smart, and — as always — have fun!