How to Keep Your Career Plan on Track

Posted in the Plain Dealer on 10-3-13 by Terri Mrosko

Whether currently job seeking, thinking of transitioning into a new career, starting a business or simply looking ahead to the next step in your career path, a plan of action should be a priority. A plan will keep you focused on the end goal and help track your progress, allowing you to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

It is best to pull out your plan every day, said Sunny Klein Lurie, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Fast Focus Careers. Most people may ask, How am I going to get myself to do this every day? Build it into your daily schedule.

“I’ve seen many people with great intentions at the beginning of their career change slowly lose momentum. The biggest obstacle is avoiding action, she said. Make a deliberate morning rise time, perhaps 30 minutes earlier than usual, to visualize your actions for the day at an undisturbed time. There is power in what you visualize. Perhaps set aside a 10-minute daily huddle with another colleague to each review top items to accomplish for the day. Establish an evening recap and organize your time in a disciplined routine to arrange an overview of what you accomplished and what you still need to do.

Ask yourself, what meetings do I have tomorrow? Who do I need to follow-up with? A commitment to your daily to-do list will help you accomplish more, usually faster, Dr. Lurie said. Nothing will help you succeed more effectively than sticking with a routine of action!

Another trick is to find a personal incentive that gets you in the right frame of mind to work on your career action plan. For example, maybe you enjoy searching for words associated with interesting jobs, and listing them on your resume. Or possibly you like reading updates of people in your LinkedIn groups who have changed careers. The point is to find a couple of career-related activities that are more fun than work, just to get you going.

Dr. Lurie said it is best to have an action plan ready for the unexpected, which you can surely expect to encounter along the way. A personal example shed light on one way to deal with obstacles to your plan. I experienced a personal dilemma one month and decided the best remedy was to call upon an optimistic colleague. I was frustrated and taking too much time developing a project, and this experienced and upbeat educator was willing to help me reason things out to get past my sticking points. In 90 minutes, I jumped over several hurdles I had been struggling with in my mind, Dr. Lurie said. My colleagues energy and the discussion help me produce results and get me back on track.