This year is coming to an end fast — answer some important questions so that the next year will be as successful as it can be.
These questions should help you become more successful in your current job as well as lay the foundations for any new job or job search.
- Are you satisfied in your job? Happy? Be honest with yourself. If you can answer yes, keep doing what you're doing. If you can't answer 100% yes, imagine how you can make changes that will move you closer to satisfaction and happiness. They don't have to be huge changes like changing jobs (although it could be!), but rather think of incremental steps you can take to improve your satisfaction. See the next question
- What can you do to improve your job satisfaction? Maybe it's a case of asking for more of the types of projects you like best, or delegating more, or improving your skills in some area. Could you improve your work/life balance in any way? Create stronger boundaries around your work responsibilities so that they don't bleed into your life? What would give you more satisfaction?
- How have you grown or improved this year? It's always a good idea to take note of your successes, both for your own well being and to prepare for any annual reviews. Consider both work goals that you can attach a number to — ie: increasing sales, improving performance, etc. — and also softer goals like learning a new skill, improving your public speaking, networking more, and so on.
- In what ways do you hope grow your career this year? Are you looking for a promotion or a raise? Are you looking to improve your skills in a particular area? How will you make it happen? Be very specific both in what you want and how you will make it happen. What outside conditions do you need to meet to make your goals reality?
- When do you feel in flow or in the zone at work? How can you do more of that work? When you're in flow or in the zone, you lose track of time, you can work hard and walk away feeling energized rather than drained, and you may do some of your best work. Identifying when you get into the zone can help you get there more often.
- Do you feel challenged and excited at work more than half of the time? If you answer yes, you can tell that you've found a good position and vocation. If you cannot answer yes, whatdoes challenge and excite you? How can you do more of it?
- Automation is coming to all jobs — how can you focus more on the non-routine parts, what new skills to learn, what moves to make next? Do some research into the kinds of things that are being automated in your niche. And don't be scared if you find out a lot of automation is happening; instead, look at what you do in your position that can't be automated and focus on growing your proficiency in those areas.
- Do you have a clear vision and goal for your career? If not, the end of the year is a great time to reflect and develop one. Everyone dreads the proverbial "five year plan," but it can help you move forward in your goals. In order to make big things happen, you must have goals that can be broken down into action steps. See the next question.
- What do you hope to have accomplished in your career by this time next year? In order to achieve anything, you need to break down your goals into action steps. Sure you may not be CEO of the company by this time next year if you're starting in the proverbial mail room, but what steps can you take to move yourself along your career path?
- What's your ultimate goal? How can you take a step towards your goal in the next year? Is your ultimate goal early retirement? A career shift? Management? Opening your own company? Retiring your spouse or taking care of your parents? It may seem a long way off, but identify even one step you can take toward that goal in the next year and you will maximize both the likelihood that you'll achieve it and your positive mindset that you can.