Are you waiting for the perfect time to launch your grand plan? We don’t like to wait in line, but we’re more than content to wait for some other things. Diets are commonly started on a Monday, or the first of the month, or the first of the year. It’s rare that someone chooses to start a diet right this very minute.
The same mindset applies to starting a business, going back to school, learning to play guitar, writing a book, having a difficult conversation, or making a change in your career. We believe that challenging objectives require optimal conditions.
But all that’s really required is the courage to get started. Waiting is often an excuse when we feel fearful or uncertain.
The idea that perfect conditions are necessary is flawed:
1. Life is much too short. Eventually, we all run out of time. No one can wait forever. That doesn’t mean to be impulsive and throw all caution to the wind. It does mean, however, that it would benefit you to act soon.
2. Life will always get in the way. Waiting for the right moment is like saving the money you have left over at the end of the month. You’ll never have any time to spare, just as you’ll never have any money left over.
* Make time for the important things you want to do or accomplish. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to get started.
3. Waiting is passive. Each day is filled with unique moments. It’s not necessary to wait until the perfect storm of opportunity, convenience, and motivation finally occurs. You can create special moments whenever you choose. Plenty of good moments are happening each day, but you’re failing to make the most of them.
4. You don’t learn anything while you’re waiting. You’re not enhancing your skills or gaining any experience when you’re inactive. Make the most of right now and you’ll be better prepared for the future.
5. Avoid regret. Do you really have the time to spare? Those that wait too long are filled with regret at the end of life. Do you want to look back on your life and think, “If only I would have …”
* Few things are worse than regret, especially when you’re no longer in the position to do anything about it. You might still be able to climb a mountain or learn to play the piano at the age of 80, but it might be easier when you’re 45. You’ll also have more time to enjoy it!
6. Taking action results in a more exciting and fulfilled life. Taking action and failing is better than doing nothing at all. Even in failure, you’re learning, taking risks, and living life to the fullest. You’re better prepared for the future and gain a new perspective.
* Make your life interesting and fulfilling by deciding that right now is a good enough time to get started.
7. Waiting results in a lack of control. While you’re passively waiting for the perfect situation to occur, you’re giving away control of your life. One common symptom among those with depression is the belief that they lack control over their lives. Why wait? Take action now to create the life you want and take back your control.
Valuing yourself will result in valuing your time. When you value your time, you’ll begin to make the most of it. Every moment is important because you’re important. Avoid waiting any longer for the perfect moment to finally arrive. Get started today and create your own moments.
Great Questions is a series of crowd-sourced job seeker, career changer questions from around the interwebs that are questions you may have thought of, encountered in your career or pondered how to approach.
This question was originally posted and answered on Quora, the a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Its publisher, Quora, Inc., is based in Mountain View, California.
Have you ever questioned if you had an obligation to share information with your employer that seemed questionable?
The author of this response gives an extremely valid point: your company won’t tell you everything about their plans for growth, development, continuation, your salary – it’s all based on now. Certainly, there are exceptions that would debate, but they are certainly more outliers for more people than not. I’m thinking here specifically about: employment contracts, if you are a highly-compensated corporate executive involved in strategic planning, etc.
So, the next time you find yourself struggling with whether or not your thoughts and plans are warranted to share, consider these guidelines to navigate whether the subject is one that you should broach at all:
- Are you talking about a time period for which the employer has committed/guaranteed employment to you in writing?
- Are you considering a written in stone-reality, a likelihood or a more theoretical plan?
- If the information you are considering doesn’t come to be, what does that outcome mean for you?
- If you shared this information once it becomes reality, are you providing standard professional courtesy?
- Is there a legal reason you need to share this information?
Have you ever looked at your workspace and felt overwhelmed? Does it feel easier to walk away from it than fix it? Facing a messy desk can be draining.
People fall trap to the Einstein theory, “a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” hiding behind a false truth that a clean workspace indicates a lack of creativity or intelligence.
It’s important to note that an organized workspace is not necessarily the same as an empty desk.
True too, there is research from scientists from the University of Minnesota who found “that you can get really valuable outcomes from being in a messy setting.” Specifically, you can gain leaps in outcomes in supporting creativity.
Unfortunately, most people, while they might really need to harness and encourage creativity situationally, are probably striving for productivity.
Tidiness as Princeton University researcher Professor Sabine Kastner found is key to clear thinking and being productive.
“Visual clutter competes with our brain’s ability to pay attention and tires out our cognitive functions over time.”
Tiring cognitive process means your brain gets tired. Tired brains think slower. Slower thinking produces slower, less effective work.
Being tidy and clean also supports generally good behaviors and supports people to do good things: Not engage in crime, not litter, and show more generosity.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an office job or if you work from home, keeping an organized desk and workspace is very important in order to work efficiently. It’s not always easy to pay attention to cleaning and organization when you’re worried about important deadlines, which is why your space can quickly turn into a mess.
And, in light of some of the debate on clean desk vs messy desk – it’s important to realize this is real
So in the course of the next week or so, find and block out time on your calendar to concentrate on your workspace. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re able to find everything you need quickly and efficiently!
Consider some of the following cleaning tips for your workspace:
1. File away your paperwork. Paperwork can get out of hand fast. Spend some time sorting through your paperwork. File important papers away, and shred any personal documents that you won’t need anymore.
* Put all loose paperwork into a filing system and keep folders for any paperwork that you’re currently working on. As new papers come in, try to deal with them right away, instead of leaving them on your desk for later.
2. Clean your work surfaces.
Since you’ll be able to finally see the bottom of your desk, you need to take advantage of the opportunity to clean the surfaces underneath the old clutter. Also take time to clean all of your desk items such as staplers, pens, and paper trays.
3. Make your business contacts digital.
Start a list of all your business contacts somewhere on your computer, such as your address book in your email. Keep track of their business name, photos, phone number, mailing address, and email addresses. This way you can toss out their old business cards that may be piling up on your desk.
4. Deal with old reminder notes.
If you have post-it notes all around the office, sift through them and throw out the ones that no longer apply. Reorganize them by priority, or make digital files to keep track of them. Post-its can get disorganized fast, so if you have something on a post-it that’s a long-term project, it’s better to keep your notes on your computer.
5. Deal with digital clutter.
Yep, this is a real thing. Cleaning your workspace doesn’t apply only to your physical workspace. Is anything cluttering up your computer’s hard drive? Go through your e-mail inbox and delete those you don’t need or file them away.
* Clean up your computer desktop and delete old files or back them up to an external drive. Take the time to properly back up your files often, so you never lose important work.
6. Organize your supplies.
Gather your work supplies into one area of your desk. Keep them in that space or a specific drawer. This will give them a permanent place so they’re not left out and scattered around your desk at all times.
7. Clean the areas around the room.
Vacuum the room around your desk and wash the windows, baseboards, and more. It’s probably not an area that you often think about, which is why it’s likely due for a cleaning.
8. Make a future cleaning schedule.
If spring cleaning for your workspace was a burden on you, it probably means that you let things get out of hand this year. You can prevent it from happening again by doing periodic cleaning of your workspace.
* Once you have an organizational system in place, you can spend maybe 30 minutes per week keeping everything clean and organized.
Then there are the ‘softer’ benefits of a clean, organized workspace – like a clean office environment is more inviting to you, your clients, and anyone you work with.
So, the next time you find yourself embroiled in the battle of the cluttered versus the organized desk, don’t fall into the trap. Remember, there are times that clutter might be helpful. But, if your focus is to get stuff done, getting organized is what will get you moving forward.
Whatever your career path, you’ll probably run into a few occasions when you’re faced with a decision that could dramatically change your future. With so much at stake, you want to do all that you can to be prepared. Maybe you’re torn between two attractive job offers, or asking yourself if a promotion is really worth uprooting your family to go live in an another state.
Figure out what’s important to you and take actions that will bring you closer to your goals. Try these suggestions that will build up your confidence for making big career decisions.
Start collecting information and feedback now even if you’re not facing any major dilemmas in your work life. You’ll be glad that you got a head start before your decision making skills are put to a real test.
1. Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and aspirations will help you to understand yourself. You’ll see how your priorities change over time and spot recurring patterns.
2. Take an inventory. Identify your strengths and the areas where you want to grow. Focus on what you like to do and what you’re good at.
3. Ask friends and family. Your loved ones can often provide valuable input. Maybe they’ll notice talents that you take for granted.
4. Consult experts. Reach out to your college career center to see what services they offer for alumni. Ensure your network includes colleagues who can assist you with the next stage in your career path. If you hire a career coach, check references and credentials, and ask for a short-term contract so you can test your compatibility.
5. Browse online tools. Thanks to the internet, you’re no longer limited to making a list of pros and cons on the back of a napkin. You’ll find lots of free decision-making tools and templates online to help structure the process.
Find Your Balance
Remember that there’s often no single correct answer, and you can use any choice as an opportunity to learn and grow. At the same time, understanding tradeoffs will help you to address your practical and emotional needs, and maximize the returns on your efforts.
1. What’s really important to you. Once you have enough funds to cover your basic expenses, nonfinancial factors may be more important to your happiness. Does the opportunity excite you and align with your values?
2. Breathe and make some space. Reconsider your conclusions after a good night’s sleep or a long walk. You may change your mind or confirm your first reaction.
3. Embrace the unknown. Remember that any move involves some risk. Focus on the issues you can control and make peace with the rest.
4. Build & Explore Possibilities. Examine various options before making up your mind. Then, come up with a short list to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
5. Look ahead. Visualize where you could be in 5 or 10 years if you make a certain decision. Ask yourself if this is really what you want for your career.
6. Test, Test, Test. If possible, find a way to test your decision before you make a final commitment. Maybe you can take a single course at night before you quit your job to go back to school full time.
7. Have a Plan B. Give yourself something to fall back on. Either you’ll succeed the first time or you’ll be in a stronger position to try again.
Sound decisions lead to smart career moves. Gathering information and deliberating carefully will help you to achieve work-life balance and find the job satisfaction you’re looking for.