Wednesday 27 September 2017

Career choices that don’t clash with your personality

We spend most of our time at work – in fact it’s been estimated that we spend 12 years during our lifetime. That’s a really long time to be doing something that doesn’t suit your personality.

Happiness and well-being is not just a question of the profession you choose but, as it’s where you spend a big chunk of your waking life, it’s important you make the right choices.

Many factors come into play when it comes to job satisfaction – the role, the way we’re managed, the culture, our colleagues – and finding work that plays to our personality and ignites our interests is far more likely to keep us absorbed and feeling contented. Plus, as the lines between home and work become more blurred than they used to be, it’s even more important to make sure we're happy in our work, as all too often it spills over into our personal life too.

The benefits of feeling content at work are well documented. They include:

  • Improved health - people who are unhappy at work or under a lot of stress tend to suffer from a multitude of ailments, ranging from aches and pains to broken sleep patterns. 
  • Happier relationships – when people are feeling unhappy and unfulfilled, it can’t help but carry over into their personal lives. If you keep venting your workplace frustrations on friends and family, they’ll soon disengage, whereas happiness spreads.
  • Increased productivity – happy people achieve more. They find it easier to focus and concentrate and they like to get things done. And it’s by getting stuff done – or through feeling appreciated in the workplace – that you want to do more. It’s a positive cycle of productivity.

We’ve found a nifty little quiz that will really help you get under the skin of what it would take to make you feel happiest at work. The questions were created by a professor at Arizona State University. They’re designed to measure six personality traits, captured in the acronym RIASEC: Realistic (doers), Investigative (thinkers), Artistic (creators), Social (helpers), Enterprising (persuaders) and Conventional (organisers). The questions in the test may appear random, but answer honestly – you might be surprised at what they reveal…

Take the test >

And once you’ve taken the test, it’s time to reflect and decide upon the best career choice to suit your personality. The question is: how do you go about following your new path and making it a reality?

These three top tips should help you on your way:

1. Be patient

Nothing worth having comes easy. Having a clear path is a big step forward but remember – good things come to those who wait. Don’t be in too much of a rush to jump right into a new career path. Take your time, think things through. Do your research, then progress at a pace that feels comfortable.

2. Walk, don’t run

However unfulfilling your job may be at the moment, don’t run away and be very careful not to make any rash or drastic decisions. Work out a plan that takes you ever closer to your dream job, but not at the expense of all that you have learned and achieved so far.

3. Don’t let fear hold you back

So what if your dream career seems unachievable at the moment? We all have an amazing capacity to learn new skills so, in 99% of cases, it’s never too late to set your sights on something new. Most of the time, the only thing holding you back is your own fear. It can paralyse you and stop you from achieving your true potential. Follow steps 1 & 2 and you’ll get there when the time is right!

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Dare to delegate: maximising efficiency in the workplace

Returning to work after the summer break can be a little overwhelming and it’s easy to slip back into old habits – taking too much on and struggling to maintain the work/life balance we all crave.

For many of us, delegation is the one thing that we really struggle with. How many times have we agreed to more work than we can realistically handle? How many times do we do things ourselves, rather than spread the workload with others within our team or seeking freelance help from outside?

Doing everything ourselves might seem like the right thing to do, but the reality is that not only is it bad for business, it’s also not conducive to optimal wellbeing.

Here are our three tips to help you manage your workload and delegate effectively to maximise your effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace.

Start small and work up

For many of us, delegation marks a loss of control. We fear that other people won’t complete the task in the same way or to the same standard as we would and that makes us reluctant to let go. Delegation is a skill. And, as with most new skills, the key is to start small. To begin with, delegate only the smallest of tasks – then as your ability to let go grows, so too can the tasks you are willing to pass over to someone else.

Prioritise your workload

In order for you to successfully delegate, you need to be clear about your own workload. As work comes in, categorise it. Does it have a deadline? What is the expected outcome? Is there anyone else with the skills needed to complete the task? Anything with a less urgent deadline or a lower skill requirement, can be delegated, freeing up your time to the value-adding tasks. Keeping hold of tasks that could be easily or more quickly done by someone else doesn’t make good business sense – you should recognise your own strengths, and those of others. That’s the way to ensure efficiency at work.

Include instructions

This article from Psychology Today's blog suggests that the real reason we find it hard to delegate is not that we don’t want someone to share the burden, but that we are often dissatisfied with the results that come back to us. This can be easily overcome with the use of detailed instructions. These serve two purposes: to outline your expectations with regards to outcomes and to make it easier for you to let go of certain tasks. Even if the task is straightforward, the act of writing up instructions for whoever you delegate to, will avoid any misunderstandings in communication when handing over the task and help ensure that standards are maintained.

Still not convinced? Remember, delegation is not an indication that you are unable to manage your time effectively, it’s the opportunity for you to help others to grow, to strengthen collaboration skills and to develop trust / confidence within your team.

Delegating the tasks you haven’t had time to do could actually lead to greater creativity in the workplace – helping to identify efficiencies and finding better ways of doing things. So by delegating, you’re actually doing someone a favour!