Life is like a brick building, with each day representing a single brick. The size, integrity, and aw of the resulting tower is based on the quality of each individual brick. If you want to excel in whatever field you have chosen, you must simply make the most of each individual day. As the days stack on top of each other, the quality of your life will become apparent.
But how in the world can we find time to invest in our career success? With all of the items that fill our calendars, it can seem impossible to invest in our future.
Fortunately, it’s possible to improve your career with just a few minutes a day. Here is a list of 7 ways that you can excel in life by investing just 7 minutes a day:
1. Create a Daily To-Do List
The CEO of a large corporation paid a consultant $25,000 to tell him one thing: Write down the six most important tasks that you need to accomplish, prioritize them, and focus on the items one at a time.
There you have it, advice that’s worth $25,000! If you’d like to send me a check, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.
This is one of the easiest ways to improve your career – by getting the important stuff done first. It can be easy to spend our time focusing on small, trivial tasks for the sake of feeling like we’re achieving – but true success comes from focusing on the important stuff first.
Implement this one strategy and watch your productivity increase. This, in turn, will improve the value that your provide to your employer, clients, and peers.
2. Do a 7 Minute Workout
Everyone knows that exercise makes you happier, more productive, and healthier. But many of us fail to exercise on a regular basis.
Why? Well, the most common reason is that we don’t have the time. Once we put on our workout clothes, drive to the gym, and complete a workout routine, we can easily blow a large part of our evening. When we think about the other pressures and responsibilities that we have, exercise quickly takes a back seat.
As it turns out, you can complete a decent exercise in just 7 minutes! All without any expense equipment. Because these workouts focus on high-intensity (fast moving) routines, they can actually be as healthy for you as spending 30 minutes meandering around the gym.
Of course, extended workouts can be more beneficial, but you can’t beat 7 minutes of exercise in your own home. And honestly, if you can’t carve 7 minutes out of your day to exercise, you really need to change something.
There are many free apps that will take you through this routine. Simply search for “7 minute workout” in your app store and you should be able to find several free apps to get you going.
3. Learn a New Word
A study was done to compare the differences between leadership levels within an organization. In other words, the researchers wanted to find out what differentiated the CEO and vice presidents, from managers and floor supervisors.
Surprisingly, the leadership abilities of the floor supervisor and CEO were often very similar. Although leadership expertise are valuable, this isn’t what separated the top leaders from those lower on the totem pole.
What was the difference? Vocabulary
On a vocabulary test, the top executives knew about 90-95% of the words. Meanwhile, lower executives and managers new around 60% of the vocabulary; and floor supervisors only new about 30% of the terms. These results were found to be consistent across a wide range of organizations.
Therefore, if you want to move up the corporate ladder, improve your vocabulary. The average person learns 20 new words a year. If you learn one word every weekday, in one year you can learn what most people learn in 12.
There are many websites and apps that can send you a daily vocabulary term. Sign up for one of these and watch your career thrive.
4. Read a Devotional Thought
I’ve been amazed at how many executives have a strong faith in God. While a belief in God is often viewed as being ignorant in “scientific” and “academic” circles, many successful people who actually get stuff done believe in a higher power. It seems that spending time focusing on a greater power provides us with the ability to better interact with people and push through challenging times.
There are many daily devotional books that make it easy to start off your day with a focus on God. For those wanting a quick pick-me-up, Jesus is Calling is a great book. For those with a desire for more thought-provoking material, My Utmost for His Highest is worth reading (and you can read it free online at Utmost.org).
Spend a few minutes every day reading and thinking about what really matters in life, and the peace that fills your soul can surprisingly make you more successful at whatever tasks you set your mind to accomplish.
5. Reach Out to a Friend
If you ask 10 people if they knew anyone in their company before working there, the odds are that 8 of them would say “yes”. In addition to your work ethic and skills, your personal network is one of your most valuable assets. Continue to develop it and you will discover that you are healthier, wealthier, and happier. Furthermore, when we spend time to show others that we care about them, it makes their lives better as well.
Therefore, I recommend that you reach out to one friend every day. Not trying to get something from them – simply to say “hi”. If you do this every weekday you will have 250 conversations in a year. How much happier would you be if you had 30 friends you contacted once a month?
Although a phone call is great, many of us may not be able to find the time or energy to call someone every evening. If that’s the case, send a short Facebook message or text saying that you appreciate someone and asking how they are doing. As long as you reach out to one friend every day your social network will remain healthy and your life will be full of deep friendships.
6. Improve One Professional Relationship
In addition to personal relationships, make sure that you spend some time to strengthen your professional relationships as well. Again, this doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Grab lunch with an associate, leave a comment on a professional blog, or send a brief email to a company executive praising one of his recent actions. Even a tweet to an industry expert can gain you attention and start a beneficial professional relationship.
It’s not necessary to spend an hour every day attending networking events, just reach out to one person in a way that makes your presence known in a positive manner.
Finally, make sure that the purpose of these interactions are to benefit others, not yourself. Even if you are looking for a job, find a way to benefit the other person through a compliment, suggestion, or idea. After all, wouldn’t you rather hire someone who gave you a great idea than someone who simply said “I’m willing to do anything”?
7. Prepare for One Difficult Interaction
As your day begins, find one interaction that you know will be challenging, and mentally prepare for it. This could be a hard conversation with a boss or employee, a discussion with a challenging client, or an opportunity to sell your product to a new company.
Whatever the topic may be, sit down and think about how you should handle the situation. What does the other person want? How can you develop a win-win outcome? Where are you willing to compromise? How should you behave if things don’t go your way?
By thinking through an interaction, you can be well prepared for what lies ahead. Furthermore, if you take a few minutes afterwards to evaluate and journal about the result, you can learn how to move improve future outcomes.
What Else Can You Do To Improve Yourself Everyday?
These are just several ways that you can make your life and career a little bit better. Many people journal, read about the industry, and attend networking events. Are there any other ways that you use (or know of) to improve your career in just a few minutes a day? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.