5 Tips to Help Your Career Thrive During COVID-19

These are uncertain times. The pandemic has disrupted many careers. But whether the pandemic is a career stumbling block or opportunity depends on how you react to it.

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It certainly presents challenges, especially if you have been laid off. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your career on hold, attempting to just wait it out until the situation improves. There are still things you can do to move forward even now.

  1. Perform above and beyond

No surprise here. If you want to move ahead in your career, you have to perform well in your job. Without doing that, nothing else will work.

Don’t let the disruption affect your performance. Established routines may be in some disarray, but you cannot let that affect your focus and your goals. To stay on track, assess your situation, establish priorities and a plan of action. Don’t get sidetracked doing tasks that are unimportant or take on too many projects. Concentrate on the important stuff. Multitasking – trying to do more than one task at the same time – doesn’t work. In fact, it can really reduce productivity.

  1. Don’t be a perfectionist

While you want your work to be superior, you need to also be on guard against perfectionism. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, which can harm productivity. It can also lead to procrastination and wasting too much time on minor details. Stopping this behavior means realizing that doing something well does not mean it has to be flawless. One good rule of thumb to follow – treat the difficult task as though it were easy, and the easy task as though it were difficult.

  1. Advertise your achievements

Many think that if we work hard, our accomplishments will speak for themselves, and higher ups will notice our work. But it usually doesn’t happen. To advance in your career, you have to increase your exposure and sell yourself and your accomplishments.

Some of us naturally shy away from the idea of tooting our own horn, believing it gives the appearance of egotism or arrogance. But you need to get past this misguided conception. To get ahead, it is important to let others know what you can do and what you have accomplished.

One tip: every quarter, send your manager a report of the things you’ve accomplished in the last three months and how ongoing projects are progressing. These reports can come in very handy come your annual review.

  1. Network

This is essential if you want to move ahead in your career. It’s something you should be doing whether you are looking for a job or not. Making connections can help in many different ways – gaining new information and insights, learning about trends, learning about job opportunities.

You need to go beyond your immediate circle of colleagues and build relationships with people in other departments and in other companies. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn make this much easier to do.

  1. Lend a hand

One of the best ways to build goodwill and good relationships with others is to volunteer to help them. If you take the time to listen to others, try to understand their problems and offer solutions, you will develop a reputation as someone willing to go above and beyond, a team player and a problem solver.

You don’t have to sacrifice time for your own work to do this. You just need to be selective about what extra projects to take on.

  1. Keep growing

Growing in your career doesn’t just happen. In addition to doing the things mentioned above, you need to continually challenge yourself, to take on new and different projects to help you develop new abilities and skills. This may be uncomfortable. You may have to learn a lot of new information, ask people for help, and do things you are not used to, but the rewards will be worth it.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time career position, or a part-time, temporary opportunity, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities and then follow directions to apply to the ones that interest you.

Overcoming the Overwhelm When Working at Home

The pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval in people’s lives. Many of us now work remotely, all the while trying to take precautions against the virus. We battle with a lot of anxiety and stress and even some disorientation. It’s a lot to get used to.

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Working from home also presents unique challenges. We need to overcome distractions from family and friends. Work time tends to bleed into personal and family time until it often feels like there is no boundary between the two. It is easy to feel that we’ve lost control.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you need to examine the sources of stress in your life. Here are a few things you can do to cope, and here are even more tips.

  • Take breaks

When working, it is best to take a short break about once each hour. That is about the limit of time that our minds can focus intensely. If that doesn’t suit your routine, you should definitely take a break when you are feeling stressed or fatigued.

Do something physical during your break, such as taking a short walk, doing some quick callisthenic-type exercises, throwing some dirty laundry in the washer, or cutting up some vegetables for supper. This helps to get the blood flowing, delivering more oxygen to the brain, improving your mood and reducing stress.

  • Set benchmarks

Most of us procrastinate, at least some of the time. If a big project is due in two weeks, we wait until a week or so has gone by before starting to work on it. To eliminate this problem, try setting benchmark goals. Break down the project into smaller tasks and set deadlines for each of  them on the way to your final goal.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

We all make mistakes. When we do, often there is a feeling of embarrassment and inadequacy, especially among perfectionists. We scold ourselves for our poor performance and become angry and depressed. If you screw up, forgive yourself. Don’t take it too hard. Realize that everyone makes mistakes and experiences failure. Treat it as a learning experience and move on.

  • Make time for you

No matter how busy you are or what you have on your plate, you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t, your performance and productivity will suffer in the long run. Take time to exercise every day. Eat a healthy diet. Get seven to eight hours of sleep. Take time to interact with family and friends. You’ll feel better, have more energy and get more done. You may even want to try meditation. Research has shown that it can help you focus and lessen stress.

  • Reduce the “modern” type of “clutter”

If you stop and take the time to notice, you will be surprised at the amount of time wasted each day on frivolous activities. For example, how often do you check your email, Facebook, texts and Instagram? How much time do you spend reading blogs or diddling around YouTube?

These are time sinks. If you want to get more control of your life, cut back on the amount of time you waste on these activities.

  • Remember your purpose.

When things get chaotic and stressful, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Remember why you chose this profession and this job in the first place and the things you want to accomplish in your career. Look at your current situation as a step along the way.

  • Get organized

Believe it or not, just looking at a cluttered desk can increase your stress level. Studies have shown that people who are better organized are more productive and not as stressed out.

Is your current employer asking you to work from home 24/7? Sensing that your boss truly is asking too much and it’s time to find another position? Check out our current job opportunities and, if you find one or more of interest, follow application instructions.

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