As a human resource manager, you’re in the business of managing humans. Everything you do, all day long, directly and indirectly, affects the people in your organization professionally and personally. But while you spend time managing the careers of your employees, it’s easy to neglect the most important human in your sphere of influence: yourself.
How many steps have you taken this week to invest in your career? What about this month? This year?
While we spend time working to retain our top talent, we can forget to focus on the own talents we possess and the ways we need to grow. So no matter how busy you are, here are five easy ways you invest in your career right now.
Invest in Your Intelligence
Train. That. Brain. Many of us remain cognitively stagnant. Once we graduate, we no longer have textbooks to read or homework to practice. Stimulate your brain by practicing some simple tricks everyday to keep your senses sharp. One of my personal favorites is an app called Elevate. You’ll take an initial IQ test to gauge where you land in certain categories, such as Reading, Writing and Math. From there, they’ll provide short games you can complete in just five minutes. It’s highly addictive, challenging, and a great way to improve everyday skills.
Invest in Your Goals
First things first, establish your goals. Whether those are New Year’s Resolutions or a trajectory for reaching your next promotion, make sure you have clear and achievable goals for the next year written down and in a place where you’ll see them on a regular basis (I keep mine in the “Notes” section of my iPhone).
After you’ve written out your goals, think of what actionable steps you can take to achieve them. And this doesn’t just apply to professional goals. Let’s say you want to read 20 books this year. Make your list, decide where you want to start, and break it down into what you need to accomplish each month (read 1.5 books) or week (200 pages). Evaluate your goals in a few weeks and adjust them as necessary. This is key to avoiding burnout and still keeping your momentum.
Invest in Your Community
This seems counterintuitive, but by helping others, you can meet new people, learn new skills, and stretch yourself in ways you never would have thought. Find ways to invest in your community by joining the board of a non-profit, volunteering at a local shelter or soup kitchen, or even cooking dinner for the new neighbor. Depending on your availability, you might not be able to take on a new commitment, but there are small ways to do good every day. A good friend of mine is quick to send a Starbucks gift card (via email… so easy!) when I have something big coming up or am going through a hard time. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way. Consider big and small ways to invest in your circle of influence.