3 New Career Habits for the New Year

Happy New Year! Let’s get right to it and talk about how to make your mark in the coming 12 months. Whether you want to secure a raise, a promotion or a better job, these habits — one daily one weekly, one monthly — will keep you on track for big success. I’m committing to them and I hope you will, too:

1. Empty your email inbox every day. At every workshop I present, someone always asks how it’s possible to accomplish anything when you receive hundreds of emails a day. The answer is: you often can’t. You simply cannot achieve the big things when you get mired in the small things. And the vast majority of emails are about small things. While totally emptying your inbox daily may not be realistic for you, you can find an email management strategy that helps you tame your inbox. My strategies are: unsubscribe from as much as possible; keep emails as brief as possible; only have one folder called “Archive”; turn off email when writing; and — although I don’t always achieve it — aim for “inbox zero” at the end of every day.

2. Schedule one networking activity a week. What would happen if you made your professional relationships a priority this year? Just as you schedule gym time or date night with your significant other, try scheduling a weekly networking activity — and this shouldn’t always involve meeting strangers. One week you might invite a more senior colleague to grab lunch, another week you might finally take advantage of your college’s alumni mentoring program and once in a while you might venture out to a formal networking event or meet-up to make some new contacts. Your next move is likely to come from a networking interaction inside or outside your current organization, so increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time by networking every single week.

3. Read one career/business book a month. There is so much excellent information available on how to advance in your career — so, go read it! Whether you choose to read current best sellers, the business classics or how-to books on topics where you need some improvement (e.g., negotiation skills, professional appearance, Excel), think how much smarter you’ll be at the end of 2012 with 12 new books full of knowledge in your head. Books on my current professional reading list are Steve Jobs, The M Factor and All the Money in the World.

What career habits are you planning to implement this year? What books are on your reading list? Please share in the Comments!

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