Moving forward: working smarter, not harder

If you really want to work smarter, not harder, focus on the projects that
make the biggest difference and have the biggest impact.

Stick to the issues being discussed at the most senior level in your
organisation. People who get promoted are good at what they do and get results,
but being good at what you do often isn’t enough, it’s more a case of how far
you are seen to be doing the things that matters.

Get noticed by key decision-makers in the organisation; people who can create
jobs, authorise promotions and influence your future.

Managers report that the key to deciding whether an individual is suitable
for promotion on the basis of just one or two key events when you are most

Changes of senior staff are frequent. If you get a new boss, see it as an
opportunity to try a new approach. Do more of the things you do well and
enthusiastically, and seek to delegate some tasks you find less interesting.
Offer solutions not problems and you will make an impression fast.

Look at the work you do as a series of projects. What is your involvement in
each project ­ and how can you increase it? Build up a portfolio of your
successes, and make sure your achievements are known in the organisation.

Organisational survivors are often not those with the best skills, but those
who are most keenly tuned to office politics. This does not mean becoming a
back-stabber or spin doctor, but it does mean being aware of today’s buzzwords.
Show that you are on-message. Make sure you are seen as an innovator, as a key
player, not as dead wood.

There is no such thing as the right work/life balance ­ it’s all about what
works for you.
The real test isn’t about counting the hours, it’s about the promises you make
to yourself and others that you never fulfil: ‘one day I’ll…’.

Make this year the year that you fulfil at least 25% of those promises.
Consider flexible working, job share or some other arrangement if you really
find that work leaves nothing left of you for living.

John Lees, career coach and author of How to Get a Job
You’ll Love

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