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  1. Are you really THAT busy? What is your routine?

    April 15, 2013 by Jenna

    Do you ever find that the common reason behind many cancellations and postponed meetings is because people are too busy? In today’s world it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have work commitments, family commitments, social commitments, bills to pay, side projects to run etc.

    Why is it when we all have the same hours in a day that only some of us are finding the balance that we need and others barely have the time to get anything done?

    Is it psychological? Is it poor time management skills?

    And what sacrifices are you making when you are too busy?

    We are all different when it comes to dealing with busy or stressful situations. Some of us thrive on the adrenalin rush of a short deadline and others require more preparation and may crumble under pressure.

    Know your limits

    There is also some of us, like myself, who have difficulty switching off and like to take on multiple projects at once, whether at work or in your personal time. But the best advice that I can give to this crowd is know your limits, because at the end of the day, if you are overworked and too busy, no one will be impressed by the amount of projects that you have on if you are unable to accomplish them because you have over-committed!

    Not sure what category you lie in? Well here are some common symptoms of those that are overworked and stressed:

    • Memory problems
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Poor judgment
    • Seeing only the negative
    • Anxious or racing thoughts
    • Constant worrying
    • Moodiness
    • Irritability or short temper
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Sense of loneliness and isolation
    • Nausea, dizziness
    • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
    • Frequent colds
    • Eating more or less
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Isolating yourself from others
    • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
    • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

    As individuals we need to be driven, we need goals and projects and challenges to keep us going. But we shouldn’t need to put ourselves in situations where we have ‘too much’ on our plates. And if it is too much, we need to say so. Admitting early on that you are not able to complete a task does not make you a failure, it allows you time to let management know what you are doing and it allows them to effectively delegate tasks amongst members of your team. Or you can even ask a team member to help, because working together as a team is important for development.

    Now I’m not saying that if you cut down on your workload that you won’t ever experience stress or feel overworked at some stage of your career. But if this is a daily habit then you have to consider the facts that it’s unhealthy for your physical being and your personal life.

    And if you keep using the line ‘I’m too busy’ as an excuse, it tends to fall in the same category as ‘my dog ate my homework’ when you were at school. Everyone is in the same boat and we are trying to make the time to see you, and they will only fall for that excuse so many times.

    Set a plan of attack

    A work routine can be like a fitness routine – We follow strong for the first few months then we can start to either lose motivation or we start to lose track of our initial goals. But at the same time a routine is so vital in order to achieve results! Especially when we are balancing multiple tasks, if we don’t set out the important/urgent tasks at the beginning of our day we will most likely get distracted and end up unprepared, disorganised and incomplete. In fact, we probably save ourselves more time setting out a plan for the day rather than entering our day worrying about everything we have to do and not having any sense of direction.

    Not only that but how can we expect to move up the corporate ladder or be trusted to manage tasks if we are unable to manage ourselves?

    So what goals have you set so far that you might have strayed away from this year? Do you think it may be time to re-evaluate these goals to find more of a work-life balance?


  2. Why networking is the #1 way to find a job …

    November 22, 2011 by Jenna

    The top two responses to our latest online poll – “Where do you go first when you’re looking for a job?” –  were Internet Job Boards and My Contact Network

    Whilst there is no doubt that internet job boards provide an easy, user-friendly way to apply for advertised roles, job seekers must always beware of becoming lazy in their application approach, ie sending the same old cover letter and CV again and again for roles that might actually require you to do a bit of “tailoring” first, or resort to a scattergun mentality, ie, “If I send my CV to enough job advertisers, then one will surely produce a result.” 

    I can assure you, as someone who has worked in the recruitment industry for eleven years, recruiters who know their stuff, whether they work for an agency or within a company, can spot a thoughtlessly-sent CV at twenty paces. For example, a candidate might have a newly-minted accounting qualification. They are seeking an entry-level accounting role. They do a key-word search using “accounting” and send their CV in response to the 25 job ads that appear, despite the fact that only two of the advertised roles are suitable for entry-level candidates. Not only is this a ridiculous waste of time for everyone concerned, it does the candidate absolutely no favours, instantly creating an impression of a total lack of attention to detail and no real interest in the actual role or company. 

    You must remain in charge of your job search. It is your responsibility and yours alone to secure your next role. 

    Here is a prime example of what I mean from an article on Forbes.com entitled Get a Job Using the Hidden Job Market

    “The technology executive had been out of work for more than a year, but he didn’t tell any of his friends he was unemployed. Instead, he made up a story about how he was consulting on some confidential projects, the details of which he would reveal when it was time to go public. Meantime, he applied for dozens of posted job openings he saw online, with zero success. He also spent time golfing at the country club, where his locker was next to a CEO in his field. Still, he guarded his secret carefully, staying mum with his golf buddies about his job hunt. Finally, his distraught wife set up some sessions with Donald Asher, an executive career coach and author of 11 books, including Cracking the Hidden Job Market: How to Find Opportunity in any Economy. Asher convinced his new client to open up about his job hunt, and start talking to everyone he knew about how he was on the market. Sure enough, one of his golfing friends gave him a tip that led to a job at a startup.”

    What do you know?

    I asked Challenge Consulting’s Managing Director, Elizabeth Varley, what she regarded as the best overall way to find work. 

    Without hesitation, her response was, “Your network.” 

    She continued: “You must be organised and methodical in your approach to seeking work. When you’re in your car travelling to a new destination, you use a road map, you don’t just start driving. Ask yourself what you actually want to do, what skills and experience you wish to utilise. Then, work out who you know who can give you entrée into industries or companies where these are attractive. It might be a friend, it might be a LinkedIn contact, it might be someone you meet at an industry function, it might be someone you get talking to waiting for a bus.” 

    They key things to remember are: you have to make it known that you are seeking work (no one can read your mind, after all), and you cannot expect a high success rate flailing wildly in the dark (see Elizabeth’s above comment re using a map!). 

    Comments from three of our poll respondents re using their networks:

    – “The people in my network know me best, so they’re the ones most likely to present a suitable opportunity. They’re also less likely to point me in the wrong direction.”

    – “My first port of call would be tapping in to my networks.”

    – “Recently, for the first time ever, I was approached for a job based on my LinkedIn Profile.”

    What do you think? What success have you had finding that next great role using your networks? Let us know in the comments below!

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