How to Do a Career Detox – I

Career detox – does the phrase sound unfamiliar, almost strange? Well, it is neither. Just like your body needs a detox every now and then, for a better, and healthier you, your career does too.

A study done by Sibson’s Consulting found that Only 30 percent of the study respondents (750 individuals, primarily senior-level human resources (HR) professionals) reported that their employees trust the performance-management system. Given that formal performance appraisals don’t seem to be working as well as they should to give employees their due, one needs to take charge of his/her career and have a self-performance management system in place to ensure career growth and commensurate rewards. Just being good at your work, efficient and cooperative is not enough – it takes more than that to grow and be successful at the workplace today no matter what your job role or level is. [Read more on Strategies to Maximize your Potential and Performance on your Job here].

Getting yourself to do a career detox is like customizing your personal Performance Appraisal system. A career detox is a great career strategy to maximize your potential and performance at your job – no matter which profession you belong to.

But how does one really do a career detox? That is what this post is all about.
You can accomplish a career detox through a series of exercises whose objectives would be to assess and take stock of your career thus far – in terms of what’s working and what’s not, and then you move on to eliminating what’s not working and build on what is working. It also includes incorporating the aspect of mindfulness into your work – which is crucial to be able to do a successful career detox. This aspect we shall speak about in the second part of this post which is to follow.

1. Reclaim Time: Real Work VS Time spent on Social Media

It’s a fairly common frustration – feeling like there isn’t enough time to do it all, to accomplish all the tasks we plan ourselves. To feel as productive as we imagine ourselves to be. The truth is we’ll never be as productive as we are in our imagination. However, we can get quite close to it. One of the main reasons why we are not at our productive best every day is because of the overwhelming distractions we surround ourselves with.

It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that we even subject ourselves to these distractions. Namely – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the whole, vast kingdom of social media out there which almost thrives on our inability to sustain focus. According to a research by Facebook, which was cited in a NY Times article, an average user spends close to an hour everyday on Facebook. In a week of five working days, that is five hours lost during your working hours. This is just one example of the numerous distractions we are surrounded by.

Reclaim your time by shutting out all these distractions during your working hours, and by just focusing on one task at a time. Before long, you will realize that you are getting real close to being as productive as you are in your imagination!

2. Update your Resume

Your resume should always be something great which is a work in progress. There is always editing to do to your resume to make it better, even if all you do is change the font and the font size. But hey, that makes your resume more legible, doesn’t it?
Go through your resume and have a look at what you need to remove from it, and what you need to add to it. This also gives you scope for a reality check – since your resume after all is a comprehensive report card for your career of sorts. While you are at it, print out three copies to keep them handy – just in case, even if you may not be looking out for jobs. Read here for kick-ass advice on how to create the best resumes ever!

3. Work on Your LinkedIn Profile

Why LinkedIn?
• There are 332 million people on LinkedIn.
• Two new members join every second.
• There are 187 million monthly unique visitors.
• LinkedIn is currently used in over 200 countries and territories. It’s available in 20 languages.
• There are one billion total endorsements on LinkedIn at the moment.
• 59% of LinkedIn members have never worked at a company with more than 200 employees.
• There are over 39 million students and recent graduates on LinkedIn.
• LinkedIn has 17 million users in the UK users, 10 million users in the Middle East, 61 million users in Asia, 28 million users in India, 6 million users in Australia and 6 million users in China.
• 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn.
• 13% of LinkedIn users do not have a Facebook account. Likewise, 83% of users do not have a Pinterest account. 59% are not active on Twitter.

Are you still wondering why LinkedIn? Because it’s LinkedIn and you Must! If you still don’t have a LinkedIn profile, read what we wrote about why it is utterly necessary to have one in the current times. It isn’t enough for you to just create a profile and forget about it. You must use it! That’s the whole point of LinkedIn – to facilitate intensive networking for you.

You might finally land the opportunities you have been looking for if you start networking through LinkedIn. Having a complete and updated LinkedIn profile is an absolute must. You need to pay attention to what kind of photograph you use as your display picture, your professional headline and summary, and recommendations add that extra credibility to your profile. Want to know more about how to improve your LinkedIn profile and impress the world? Read here.

4. Do A Skills Assessment

Doing a skills assessment in regular intervals is a great way to feel good about the skills you possess, and an even better way to understand what skills you need to be working on to become a better professional. There are a few ways you could do this. You could speak to more experienced people in your professional sphere and get an idea about what you should be working on. You could also take one of the many skill assessment tests centered specifically around your career path on the internet. With a bit of research you will surely find a genuine test, for which you might have to pay though. We’d say, if it seems genuine, and is reasonably priced, take it nonetheless.
Apart from specific skills, there are certain generic skills that you absolutely must have – on and off your CV. Have a look at this checklist of Must Have Skills – On and Off your CV.

5. Start a Work Journal

While we’ve done an entire blog post on what a work journal is and how it’s going to help you, which you must definitely read – here, we’ll reiterate how a work journal helps, especially to facilitate a career detox.
• When you journal your work, you never miss an idea – By consciously journaling your professional life, you also tend to become aware about the many amazing ideas you may have about doing what you do in a better, more organized way.
• You are your own mentor – When you can read about your thoughts and understand the logic and rationale behind them, you will effortlessly be able to devise the way forward as well.
• The most efficient way to track your progress – Once you get used to journaling your work, you can see the pattern of highs and lows you experience. A work journal also doubles as a great success/ progress tracker.
A work journal can work wonders for a career detox. If you’ve already been keeping one it’s a great way to assess the details of your career. If you haven’t been keeping one, it’s an even better way to start fleshing out the details of how you envision your career to shape, now on.

Want to know more about how to do a successful career detox? Well we have a lot more to say! Apart from the functional aspects for doing a career detox, there are certain other aspects which focus on a journey of self-development and self-growth – two factors which are essential for any professional to have a truly successful career. Tune in for our next post on career detox and more ways on how to accomplish it.

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