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Ask Anna: Life Choice Q & A

It’s a Thursday in May – which means Life Choice Radio listeners Q & A. I am loving this series and offering leadership and career advice to these awesome folks! So here goes…

Question 1: Ms. Anna, how do I organize my work and all of the projects my supervisor assign to me? Linda

Great question, Linda! Organizing and prioritizing comes more natural to some of us than others. I fall in the not so organized by default category… So, here are some of the things that have worked for me and also some of the tools that I have used to keep myself on track.

If these projects are coming from your boss, you need to ask him or her what the priorities are in order of importance and ask for specific deadlines. This will help you organize and plan your time out accordingly. Once you know what is coming up, spending time to map out your week/day by moving backwards from when it is due and how long it will take you should help you organize your time better.

Since things inevitable come up – you or your kid gets sick, a car breaks down, an emergency project pops up…you know, life happens, go ahead and built in some cushion time within your schedule. To create this schedule you can use a regular online calendar like Outlook or Google, or a paper calendar and there are some apps that have more advanced project management and timeline features. Your company may even have this software available already.

If new things are coming at you constantly from you boss while you haven’t finished the last item they asked for, this is where you need to remind them of what you have on your plate, where you are on that project and ask if this is more important so you can prioritize it and reorganize your schedule.

If you tend to be a person who has trouble focusing, there are some online tools to help you and some internal rules you can set up for yourself to keep on track. For example, only checking email at certain times per day – usually emails can wait to be answered at set intervals and don’t need to be constantly interrupting your work flow, stealing 5 and 10 minutes all day long. Also, start on your most important task first thing in the morning and work on it and nothing else for the first hour of the day. You will feel soooo much more accomplished by doing this one thing!

If a wandering attention span is something you struggle with, you may set a timer, like the 30/30 app to time yourself to do just that one thing in that timeframe. There are also websites like rescue time that you can set up that will block you from certain websites for a specified amount of time to reduce distractions *cough* facebook *cough*…

Basically, get clear on how long things will take, allow for some wiggle room, schedule EVERYTHING out and make sure you and your boss are on the same page with what you have to complete and in what order!

Question 2: How often should I update my resume? Should I have a bio too? Jeff

Hi Jeff, I’m glad you are thinking ahead about how you show up ‘on paper’ to potential employers and the best way to promote yourself.

I believe you should update your resume once a year unless you are actively looking for a job, then do it before you begin applying. But for regular updates I think once a year is a good time for adding any new accomplishments, promotions, new skills and knowledge.

Resumes used to be about what jobs you had and what you did in those jobs. However, now I believe employers are looking for people to highlight accomplishments, overall contributions and skills they bring to the table that will benefit their organization. When talking about past experience it is all in the phrasing. You can say something like I analyzed current processes and made recommendations for improvements OR I led the team responsible for reducing overhead costs by 15% in one year and increased revenue by 10% for a total 25% increase through processes improvement initiatives.

Now about the bio – I say definitely create a bio and I recommend having it on your LinkedIn profile in the summary section. Everyone is online now and you should be too if you are not already. LinkedIn is the place professionals go to do their research on candidates, so make sure you profile is filled out completely and that you have a professional looking profile pic (no selfies or group photos or me and my dog hiking) listed all your previous experience, education, awards, certifications and have a few recommendations on there.

Good luck on the job hunting, Jeff!

These were some great questions and I hope they were helpful to others as well as Linda and Jeff. You can tune in tonight at 7pm CST on www.lifechoiceradio.com to hear my on air discussion about how to get promoted and make more money in response to Kim’s question.

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