As we enter 2020 and the beginning of a new decade, many people will naturally find themselves focusing on ways they can improve their lives. Of course, your career is one of the most important areas for self-improvement, whether you want to start a new career, move up the ladder with your current employer, or simply become better at your job.
From taking an online project management course to making adjustments to your own habits, there are many ways to go about this, but you will need to know what to focus on. In this article, we look at some of the key areas that you might look to address if you are attempting to improve career prospects this year and beyond.
Make the Most of Your Time
Time management is a vital skill for career progression, and an inability to effectively manage your time will hold you back from achieving your potential. However, you must also understand that managing your time is about much more than simply being punctual and sticking to agreed schedules or deadlines.
As an article for Forbes explains, mastery of time management includes knowing when to say ‘no’, delegating work effectively, learning about your own habits, and taking proactive steps to remove distractions. An online project management course can also teach you about concepts like prioritisation, multi-tasking and mono-tasking.
Time management is even more important in the age of increased remote work and more complex, cross-functional projects, which rely on all teams doing their part. Employers tend to reward those who manage their time effectively, regardless of whether they are at home or in the office, working collaboratively or working independently.
Focus on Emotional Intelligence
Another crucial area to focus on this year is enhancing your emotional intelligence. Broadly speaking, emotional intelligence can be described as your ability to recognise and understand both your own emotions and the emotions of other people, and then use that information to inform the decisions you make or the behaviours you exhibit.
In a previous post for the PMO Perspectives blog, Susanne Madsen broke down the five competencies of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skill. Developing these competencies allows you to control your emotions, understand other people and build better relationships.
High-quality managing projects training can assist with this, boosting your communication skills and stress management skills. You will also find tests online, helping you to measure your emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ) and identify some of the specific areas that you may need to work on, in order to improve your career prospects.
Strive to Become More Creative
Finally, a great way to give your career a boost in 2020 is to make a conscious effort to become more creative. You may not feel that you are a naturally creative person, but you can learn to adopt a creative mindset and use approaches to tackling workplace problems that allow your creative juices to flow.
Creativity has become especially useful with the rise of artificial intelligence, because AI tends to rely on logic and clear patterns, while humans can think more ‘outside the box’. Some elements of managing projects training programmes can assist with this, such as design thinking courses, or complex problem solving courses.
“Creativity is not the exclusive domain of artsy types like musicians and writers,” says Vivien Luu, in an article written for Career FAQs. “There are ways to unleash the creative within you by exercising curiosity and self-expression on a regular basis. Other things you can do include giving yourself time to let your thoughts wander.”
The Last Word
Ultimately, the precise areas you look to address will depend on your own strengths and weaknesses. With that being said, right now, employers are especially keen on emotionally intelligent people, who know how to manage their time effectively, and who are able to come up with creative solutions to complex or ill-defined problems.